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These states are lifting mask mandates soon

A customer enters a Fitness SF gym on October 15, 2021 in San Francisco, California.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Nearly a dozen health officers in California’s Bay Area will lift universal mask requirements for most indoor settings, starting next Wednesday, according to a joint news release from the San Mateo County manager’s office.

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The city of Berkeley and counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma will only require masks for anyone who is unvaccinated and over age 2, according to the release. 

State health officials announced Monday that the state indoor mask mandate will expire on Feb. 15. 

Masking is still required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, on public transportation, congregate settings, long-term care facilities, childcare settings and K-12 schools. 

Local health departments can relax their mask mandates in accordance with the state or keep stricter guidelines.

In nearby Santa Clara County, health officials announced Wednesday in a news release that it will lift indoor mask requirements when the seven-day average of new cases is 550 or below and when “COVID-19 hospitalizations in the jurisdiction are low and stable, in the judgement of the health officer.”
The county has met the vaccination metric that would trigger mask requirement changes: 80% of all county residents are fully vaccinated. Currently, the seven-day average is 1,922 cases per day and hospitalizations continue to remain high. The health officer anticipates lifting indoor mask requirements in a matter of weeks, said the release. 

Similarly, the Golden State’s most populous county, Los Angeles, will change mask requirements for indoor spaces when transmission is under 50 cases per 100,000 people, or when vaccines are available for at least eight weeks for children age under age 5. Either of those two guidelines along with no reports of significant circulation of new variants will prompt a requirement change. The “post-surge” threshold for the county is triggered when daily hospitalizations drop below 2,500 for seven consecutive days. Once that happens, masks will no longer be required at outdoor spaces including mega events, childcare facilities and K-12 schools. 

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The state has not yet announced any changes to masking guidance for schools but said adjustments to policies will be shared in the next few weeks.

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