Bay Area county to ease the mask mandate Monday

Marin County on Monday will repeal a local mask mandate that requires face masks in indoor public places, county health officials announced Friday.

While the mandate ends at noon Monday, masks are still recommended, according to Dr. Matt Willis, the county’s public health worker. The change also does not affect the state’s requirements for unvaccinated persons, school environments, companies or organizations that require face coverage.

“Facial coverage has been and will remain a critical tool in preventing the spread of the virus,” Willis said in a statement. “The mandate helped us through the fourth wave, but as the local picture improves, we are shifting from a legal mandate to a local recommendation.”

The change is part of the process of “going back to normalcy,” the public health officer said.

The Marine Mask Mandate was introduced on August 2 as part of a public health response across the Bay Area to the increase in cases related to the Delta variant. On October 7, the Bay Area counties established criteria for revoking county-level mask mandates. Marin County met the criteria on Oct. 29, county officials said.

The vaccination rate is over 80 percent, hospital admissions fell and remained low, and Marin maintained 21 days in a row with moderate-level data at the Centers for Disease Control Community Transmission Tracker, according to the county.

Residents are asked to continue to respect businesses, agencies and other entities that may choose to continue to require indoor face masks for everyone, including those who have been vaccinated.

In a similar move, residents of Alameda County will be allowed to avoid masks in some indoor setting from Monday, thanks to declining coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the county.

Alameda County health officials announced the change Thursday.

Eligible Alameda County settings include controlled spaces that are closed to the public, such as offices, gyms, staff vehicles, and other locations, such as churches, where groups gather on a regular basis.

No more than 100 people may gather without masks, all must be free of COVID-19 symptoms and the host organization, such as the church or company, must verify that all participants are fully vaccinated.

The city of Berkeley also eases masking requirements Monday like Alameda County. The counties of Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma have relaxed the masking requirements in similar ways recently.

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