mask mandate

Benicia City Council Considering Indoor Mask Mandate

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The Benicia City Council on Tuesday will consider implementing an indoor mask mandate again as the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant circulates. The move would override Solano County, which hasn't issued a mandate.

Benicia Mayor Steve Young explained what the council will decide at Tuesday's special session.

“Whether to reinstate a mask mandate for interior public spaces, retail operations; we had one for about a year that we adopted back in May of 2020 and dropped it when the governor dropped all the other mandates in June,” he said.

Eight Bay Area counties recently reinstated mask mandates over concern about the delta variant, but Solano County didn’t go along with them.

“I think for the council the question is shouldn’t we consider something more strict than the county is doing in the interest of health and safety,” Young added.

Natasha Curtis, owner of Zeppelin Comics in Benicia, said her business already has a mask mandate in place.

“We reinstituted the mask mandate for our guests no matter what their vaccination status was,” she said. “Because we just get such a wide variety of ages and customers from different places in the Bay Area and different states.”

Curtis told NBC Bay Area on Sunday that most of her customers commend her business for it.

“I think the city should adopt a citywide mandate, although the county isn’t because it takes the burden off our individual small business owners and workplaces,” she said.

Certainly, some residents see the mask issue much differently.

Young told NBC Bay Area that Benicia has a high vaccination rate and now it's looking at bringing the mask mandate back.

“I’m personally frustrated by having to do this again,” he said. “I think had we as a nation or as a state had everybody vaccinated and everybody wearing a mask, we wouldn’t be here.”

Young said the mask mandate could stay in effect for 60 to 90 days, but added that it will depend on what happens with COVID-19 cases.

The council's special session is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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