Seven Bay Area counties will now require everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks indoors as the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads in the region.
The counties include San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin and Sonoma. As the Bay Area is seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, specifically among the unvaccinated, the counties will waste no time in requiring the rules. The mandate will go into effect Tuesday at midnight.
“We must act now to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community. If you are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine and have not yet done so, please do not wait any longer,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa. “During July the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in our county increased 400%. Four out of five of the COVID patients we see are not vaccinated, even though only one out of five Contra Costa adults are not vaccinated.”
“While there may be slight differences between each jurisdictions’ orders issued today, they all have one thing in common. A simple step, wearing a mask indoors to provide one more layer of protection for everyone,” Farnitano continued.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf echoed the requirement on Twitter.
Alameda County requiring masks indoors in public settings as of Aug 3. Vaccines are our most powerful tool in the fight against #COVID19. Help end this summer surge and keep your loved ones safe. Mask up + get vaccinated. Vax info: https://t.co/4vOwytTRw0 https://t.co/GrSJ4je39d
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) August 2, 2021
Statewide, the California Department of Public Health recommends indoor masking and encourages individual counties to convert recommendations to requirements if local officials deem it necessary.
“The virus doesn’t care what kind of indoor space you’re at, whether it’s in a public building, or our someone’s home. Anytime you’re in an indoor space with other people who you don’t live with, there is a risk that you could get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19,” said Santa Clara Deputy Health Officer Dr. George Hahn.
“We know that face coverings work to prevent the circulation of the virus, and with contagious variants spreading it has become clear that mask-wearing is again necessary,” said Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase. “Masking and vaccinations are the most important tools we have to end the pandemic. The vaccine is safe, effective, free and widely available. We encourage all residents to do their part in wearing their masks to keep themselves, their families and their community safe.”