Delta Variant: Mask Mandate Reinstated in Bay Area Amid COVID-19 Surge

The mandate goes into effect Tuesday and requires people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings indoors while in public.

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Health officials in most Bay Area counties announced Monday that they are reinstating a mask mandate for all indoor settings as COVID-19 infections surge because of the highly contagious delta variant.

The order applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status, and starts on Tuesday.

The mandate was announced in a joint statement by the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and the City of Berkeley, which has its own health department.

Health officials in most Bay Area counties have announced a new mask mandate that requires people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering indoors. The decision comes as COVID-19 cases and delta variant continues to spread. Scott Budman reports from San Francisco.

Health officers recommended that people gather outdoors if they have that option.

“The virus doesn’t care what type of indoor space you’re in,” said Dr. George Han, deputy health officer in Santa Clara. “There is a risk that you could get in contact with the virus that causes COVID-19.”

They also urge residents who have not yet been immunized to get their COVID-19 vaccine as "vaccination continues to protect against severe COVID-19 illness," a statement explained.

Nearly every Bay Area county on Monday announced it will once again require everyone to wear a mask in indoor public settings. Marianne Favro reports.

“We must act now to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community. If you are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine and have not yet done so, please do not wait any longer,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa. “During July the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in our county increased 400%. Four out of five of the COVID patients we see are not vaccinated, even though only one out of five Contra Costa adults are not vaccinated.”

In line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, California last week recommended that everyone wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, but stopped short of requiring it.

The announcement follows similar mandates in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Yolo counties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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