From Jonathan Penrose, YLOA/YSPUC General Manager:

In the past 45 days California has experienced a significant upsurge in COVID infections. In Madera County the number of new cases per day has increased from about five per day to over 40 per day. The test positivity rate has climbed back to 7%, which strongly suggests that the number of actual cases is even higher.

Given these trends, we believe it is prudent policy to require masks at all indoor YLP facilities.

I realize that some will find this controversial; however, the small inconvenience of wearing a mask (which is similar to health practices of requiring patrons to wear shoes and shirts, or to wash and sanitize their hands) will help reduce the spread of COVID AND the number of employees that would need to quarantine due to COVID exposure.

Therefore, starting Monday, August 23rd, masks will be required when entering any YLP building.

This is a temporary policy that will continue until the current surge and infection rates have sufficiently declined.

Masks will not be required at outdoor venues, though we do strongly encourage respecting and observing minimum social distancing of 6 feet.

Additional information:

The rise in COVID infections appears to be correlated to the Delta variant, which is more infectious and more virulent. Recent research also indicates that even those who have been vaccinated are at high risk of infection and that once infected carry a similar virus load to those not vaccinated… Although their symptoms are less severe and the vaccinated have much lower rates of hospitalization and death (about 97%-99% of current COVID deaths and hospitalizations are among those NOT vaccinated.)

However, because their symptoms are less severe, they are less likely to be aware of infection, while spreading it to others at roughly the same rates as the non-vaccinated. About 17% of those hospitalized were asymptomatic — which means many are infected and contagious without realizing it.

Data from other counties, where indoor masking has been reestablished, suggests that masks help significantly reduce the spread of all COVID variants.

State and federal law allows us to require proof of vaccination (at our prerogative). It also allows us to require employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

We have chosen NOT to implement such a policy (even though we are legally allowed to do so) as we believe vaccination (though prudent) is a personal choice.

However, given the current trends, YLP IS reintroducing a required mask policy for ALL indoor venues to help combat the spread of COVID, protect our employees, protect our residents, and reduce additional labor shortages that would ensue due to quarantine that would ensue upon exposure.

While we realize some people are strongly against mask mandates, we view this as similar to other health and safety practices of washing your hands or requiring that people wear shoes and shirts when entering public buildings.

Starting Monday, August 23rd, masks will be required when entering any YLP building.