Alameda County on Monday began scaling back mask requirements in certain indoor settings where everyone is fully vaccinated.
The new health order took effect Monday morning. Contra Costa and Marin counties, along with the city of Berkeley, have similar updates to their indoor mask rules starting Monday.
Eligible settings include offices, gyms and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles and regular organized gatherings such as religious gatherings. No more than 100 people can be present in those settings, officials said.
Participating businesses, organizations or hosts will be required to verify the fully vaccinated status of all patrons, employees and attendees before the masks can come off. Those present must also not have COVID-19 symptoms, according to the health order.
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Proof of vaccination consists of the following:
- A CDC vaccination card or a foreign governmental jurisdiction that includes the name of the person vaccinated, the type of vaccine provided, and the date(s) the dose or doses were administered.
- A photo or copy of a vaccination card either as a hard copy or stored on a phone or electronic device.
- Documentation of vaccination from a health care provider.
- A personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California or similar documentation issued by another state, local, or foreign governmental jurisdiction.
A government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or passport also must be shown.
Alameda County health officials said COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on a steady decline countywide, prompting the change.
"Vaccinated people are less likely to become infected with COVID-19, especially if those around them are also vaccinated, and they are less likely to experience severe disease,” Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in a statement. "Allowing vaccinated people to remove their masks in these limited, controlled settings carries lower risk. If vaccinated people choose to continue wearing masks, they should feel comfortable doing so."
Masks will still be required in indoor public settings such as bars, restaurants and retail stores as well as in K-12 schools, health care facilities and public transit.
"This is a limited policy on purpose," Moss said. "We really wanted to allow some relaxation of the mask rules without sort of throwing the doors wide open."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that college classrooms would be included in the updated order. Alameda County has now clarified that they will not be included.