Beginning November 1, Contra Costa County will remove the mask mandate in some indoor settings, where everyone can verify that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the county’s health department announced.
Citing declining case and hospitalization rates, Contra Costa Health Services said “controlled spaces” that are not open to the general public — including offices, gyms, employee vehicles, indoor college classes and organized events such as religious gatherings Contains – May go masked – Unless those entering show proof have been fully vaccinated.
Only 100 people can be present in these settings, and groups that gather should do so regularly. The health department said that any person entering these places may not have COVID-19 symptoms.
“This will allow vaccinated people to feel safe taking off their masks in the office and when they are working out in the gym,” County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said in a statement. “Of course, people in these places can continue to wear masks if it makes them feel more comfortable.”
The county’s mask mandate will still apply to restaurants, bars, retail stores and other public places that allow the general public to enter indoors. This is also in effect for the county’s K-12 public schools.
Contra Costa’s new rules follow similar orders to those of San Francisco and Marin counties – a trend in the Bay Area that follows a regionwide drop in coronavirus cases this summer after a delta version surge. On Wednesday, the county’s seven-day average of daily cases averaged about 16.8, with about 2.2 cases in fully vaccinated people.
There are currently 67 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, and 23 admitted to the intensive care unit, according to data from Contra Costa Health Services.
Contra Costa joined other Bay Area counties last week in announcing what it would take to lift indoor mask mandates for fully vaccinated people in all public settings. Criteria include an 80% vaccination rate and a further decline in cases and hospitalizations.
On Tuesday, Farnitano told the board of supervisors that the county was on track with counting its cases to meet all criteria by December or early January.
He said in a statement Thursday that the Delta surge had ended California’s mask mandate over the summer, but with positive trends in hospitals it “makes sense now” to begin easing restrictions.
“We are in a safer place than we were two months ago,” said Dr. Fernitano. “My hope is that two months from now people who are vaccinated will not have to wear masks in restaurants, bars and other places like retail stores. The way we get there is for those who remain unaffiliated to vaccination. “