Another Bay Area county prepares to soften mask mandate – SF Gate

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

Starting Oct. 15, fully vaccinated people would be able to remove their masks in indoor settings like gyms and offices if the following conditions are met including the group size does not exceed 100 people, everyone is vaccinated, the host maintains a list of everyone present, and access to the activity is controlled and not open to the general public, the county’s public health department said. 

The revision to the county’s indoor mask order — which still applies to all residents, regardless of vaccination status, in more crowded settings like grocery stores — would also include employee commuter vehicles, religious settings and college classes.

“We’re not ready to lift the mandate across the board, but we’re in a good place to ease restrictions for the safest 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 Oct. 15 if cases and hospitalizations continue to remain stable 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 — announcing Thursday three criteria for when mask mandates can be lifted entirely. 

First, a county must reach the “moderate” (yellow) tier of case rates as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data tracker and remain there for three weeks. San Francisco is currently in the “substantial” tier.”

Second, the county’s health officer must determine that COVID-19 hospitalizations are “low and stable.”

Finally, 80% of a county’s total population must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or eight weeks have passed since a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for children ages 5 to 11. As of Thursday, 75% of San Francisco’s population has been fully vaccinated.

San Francisco and Marin are the only counties to introduce the new rules for gatherings of individuals who meet regularly.

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