Starting Tuesday, wearing masks will be required in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status in seven Bay Area counties.
In a joint statement today, the public health officers for the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Sonoma and for the City of Berkeley announced they have issued new orders mandating the wearing of face coverings indoors. The fast-spreading COVID-19 Delta variant is not only infecting many unvaccinated people, but also a small percentage of vaccinated people who, despite having strong protection against serious illness, could unwittingly spread the virus to others, the health officers said.
“The new Health Orders require wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public settings,” according to their statement. “Indoor settings, whether public or private, are higher risk for COVID-19 transmission, especially when you are with people you do not live with. Health officials also recommend that all employers make face coverings available to individuals entering their businesses, and businesses are required to implement the indoor face covering order.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported information indicating that even fully vaccinated individuals can in some cases spread the Delta variant to others, “and so indoor use of face coverings provides an important added layer of protection,” the Bay Area health officers said. They urged all unvaccinated residents 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as the data indicates that vaccinated people remain strongly protected against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
“As San Mateo County joins its neighbors in issuing these orders, the goal is to avoid disrupting businesses and residents’ everyday activities,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County’s health officer. “We want our communities to stay open while being as safe as possible.”