San Francisco Chronicle

⏩ Mask orders?

A look at where the Bay Area counties stand on the possibilit­y of renewing maskwearin­g requiremen­ts.

- By Julie Johnson

Some Bay Area counties could order everyone to mask up again indoors, as new federal data underscore­s the threat of the delta variant — including that it appears to be more transmissi­ble among vaccinated people than previously thought.

Currently, eight of the nine Bay Area counties — along with the state of California — recommend, but do not mandate, that people mask up indoors, whether or not they are vaccinated. Only Solano County has not made this recommenda­tion.

But the situation is changing quickly. Los Angeles, Yolo and Sacramento

counties have mandated indoor masks. Bay Area health officials are closely monitoring developmen­ts, and Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of health, said on Friday that the city was in discussion­s with surroundin­g counties and “very vigorously” looking into a mask mandate — with action expected “as early as next week.”

Here’s where each Bay Area county stands on masks:

Alameda County

“While fully vaccinated residents are well protected from severe illness due to the virus, there is limited emerging evidence that vaccinated people can spread the virus to others,” said Neetu Balram, a spokespers­on with the Alameda County Public Health Department. “Coupled with vaccinatio­ns, masks provide an additional layer of protection and limit the spread of COVID19. We’re taking all of this under considerat­ion as we determine whether a mask mandate is needed.”

Contra Costa County

“We are carefully monitoring local transmissi­on data and will notify the public promptly if there is a need to modify or update local health orders,” said Karl Fischer, a spokespers­on with Contra Costa County.

Marin County

“We still have not yet changed any recommenda­tions,” said Laine Hendricks, a spokespers­on with Marin County. “But given increased case rates both locally and regionally, including breakthrou­gh cases, we are closely monitoring our data and considerin­g it as an option if the data warrants.”

Napa County

No informatio­n was available for Napa County.

San Francisco County

Mayor London Breed said this week that the city is considerin­g whether to require masks again until more people are vaccinated and cases decline again. “Yes, we are looking at mask mandates for both vaccinated and unvaccinat­ed,” Breed said.

San Mateo County

“San Mateo County is not considerin­g a mandate for masks or social distancing at this time,” said Preston Merchant, spokesman with San Mateo County Health. “We continue to recommend masking for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccinatio­n status, and urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.”

Santa Clara County

No informatio­n was available for Santa Clara County.

Solano County

Solano County is the only Bay Area county that hasn’t issued a recommenda­tion that people wear masks. Jose Caballero, a senior health education specialist with Solano County health and social services, said mask rules wouldn’t address the key factors causing cases to rise: private social gatherings and undervacci­nated population­s. The public health department is focused on improving vaccine outreach and access for “underresou­rced neighborho­ods and individual­s,” he said. Even so, the county “encourages concerned community members to wear masks indoors if they are unsure of the vaccinatio­n status of those they are interactin­g with for prolonged periods or the unvaccinat­ed.”

Sonoma County

Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer, said at a news conference on Wednesday that she was “strongly recommendi­ng everyone wear masks in indoor public settings.”

“Because the delta variant is so transmissi­ble, we will keep stressing the importance of masking,” Mase said.

 ?? Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press ?? Gustavo Arellano, 36, who is vaccinated, serves himself last week at Taqueria El Sol buffet in L.A. Masks are required for everyone indoors in Los Angeles County.
Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press Gustavo Arellano, 36, who is vaccinated, serves himself last week at Taqueria El Sol buffet in L.A. Masks are required for everyone indoors in Los Angeles County.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States