Huntington Beach voted to ban mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates across the city on Wednesday as cases continue rising across the state.
Council members approved the ban 4-3 following an hours-long meeting that began on Tuesday night.
The motion introduced by Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark was met with both supporters and detractors during the hearing, with at least one attendee being removed after yelling at Van Der Mark.
After “declaring the city to be a no-mask, no-vaccine mandate city,” Van Der Mark mentioned an exception to the order would apply to those who have tested positive for COVID. Those individuals would still be required to wear masks in certain settings.
Citizens who supported the ban said wearing masks and receiving a vaccine should be a personal choice, while critics argued against the lack of protection for the general public and the immunocompromised.
City officials will return to the council and present a resolution to vote on at the next scheduled hearing.
The L.A. Department of Public Health reported a steady rise in COVID transmission throughout the state beginning in late June, with recent data also showing hospitalizations are continuing to soar.
With flu season fast approaching along with rising COVID and RSV cases, health officials are urging the public to prepare for a possible “tripledemic” this fall.