Another Bay Area county prepares to soften the mask mandate

Marin County health officials announced Friday that the county will join San Francisco in easing indoor mask mandate in some places next week if local COVID-19 transmission and hospitalization rates continue to decline.

From October 15, fully vaccinated people will be able to remove their masks in indoor spaces such as gyms and offices if the following conditions are met including group size does not exceed 100 people, everyone is vaccinated, and the host maintains a list of all attendees, the Ministry of Public Health said. In the county, access to the activity is censored and not open to the general public.

A review of the county’s indoor mask order — which remains in effect for all residents, regardless of vaccination status, in busiest places like grocery stores — will also include employee transportation vehicles, religious venues and college classrooms.

“We are not ready to lift authorization across the board, but we are in a good place to loosen restrictions on the most secure settings.” County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said in a statement. “Science shows that when an entire group is vaccinated, the risk of infection is much lower.”

San Francisco announced Thursday that a similar change will be made to its mask mandate on October 15 if cases and hospitalizations continue to stabilize or decline.

The revised mandate comes on the heels of Marin and seven other counties — Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Sonoma and Napa — and announces three criteria Thursday when mask mandates can be lifted fully.

First, the county must reach the “moderate” (yellow) level of case rates as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data tracker and remain there for three weeks. San Francisco is currently at the “core” level.

Second, the county health official must determine that hospitalizations for COVID-19 are “low and stable.”

Finally, 80% of the county’s total population must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or eight weeks have passed since the COVID-19 vaccine was allowed for children ages 5 to 11. Fully vaccinated.

San Francisco and Marin are the only two counties that have introduced the new rules for gatherings of individuals who meet regularly.

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