California's Mask Mandate: What to Know in Bay Area

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Keep the masks on while indoors -- for now, California officials say.

The state waited four days to issue the guidance after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks in most cases.

"This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for the mask changes while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines," California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said on Monday.

Ghaly added the extra time California is taking will give more protection for those who cannot get a shot, like kids under 12, and give businesses clear guidance.

"We just need to hang in there a little longer and for every eligible person to get vaccinated as soon as possible," San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a tweet.

Some companies were quick to act last week following the updated CDC guidance on masks and social distancing. Trader Joe's, Starbucks and more recently Target said fully vaccinated customers do not have to wear a mask inside its stores nationwide.

But in California, customers are still required to wear a mask until the state reopens at the expected date of June 15.

Like all restrictions in the pandemic, the ultimate decision is made by the state, then the county, and businesses can still choose to be more strict.

Masks are still required in schools. The state said those fully vaccinated do not have to wear a mask outside unless they are at a crowded event. Anyone unvaccinated in the state should wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.

Meanwhile, many in the Bay Area have an opinion on the mask mandate.

"I'm not tired of wearing a mask, but I'm not all for the 'mandatory' having to wear it," said Nathan Rivera, a San Jose resident.

Arianna Melahn, a San Jose resident, said she is fine waiting another month.

"We've been [in this pandemic] for more than a year, so it's totally fine with me," Melahn said.

Traveling? Rules surrounding masks can get more complicated.

Many Las Vegas casinos said the vaccinated can go without a mask. New York plans to lift its mask mandate on Wednesday. Massachusetts will follow the CDC guidelines at the end of May. California is holding out the longest.

"California likes to do everything the hard way it seems, and it often times feels unnecessary," San Jose resident Hunter Bock said.

But some would rather take the necessary precautions.

"I think it's just better to be safe since we don't know who is and isn't vaccinated," said Adrienne Ocampo, a San Jose resident.

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