Contra Costa County

Bay Area Businesses Prepare to Reinstate Indoor Mask Mandate

"We're like everyone else learning how to survive the pandemic," a Walnut Creek barbershop owner said

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California's indoor mask mandate is coming back Wednesday for almost everybody, regardless of vaccination status and will remain in effect until at least mid-January.

The decision comes after a rise in COVID-19 cases and wanting to slow the spread of the virus over the holidays.

In the Bay Area, businesses are taking necessary steps and asking customers to put their face covers back on.

Walnut Creek resident Dalton Cooke attends a local gym to work out and hit his fitness goal of the day - deadlifting 305 pounds. When asked if he could do that again Wednesday when the indoor mask mandate goes in effect, he said probably not.

"It's a little bit harder just because when your breath gets heavy, it gets harder to breathe through the mask," he explained.

Robert Collado, general manager of 24 Hour Fitness in Walnut Creek said members will be informed of the mandate when they check in the front desk and said they will also have masks available for those who need them.

The mandate also impacts other work spaces likes offices.

Erick Flores is a finance manager who works in Walnut Creek and said his vaccinated co-workers have been allowed to work maskless. That will change tomorrow.

"I never took my mask off," Flores said. "Very early in the pandemic I lost a very close family friend to COVID-19."

Freddy Sanchez, owner of Clip Joynte barbershop in Walnut Creek said he survived the pandemic and several mask mandates, and is ready to survive another.

Sanchez came up with an idea to drum up business during the pandemic.

"We went and got a liquor license so that we could sell beer so guys can take their masks off and get a beer and shave," he explained.

Thousands of dollars in permit fees later, Sanchez is going to have to leave those beers in the cooler until next year.

"We're like everyone else," he said, "learning how to survive the pandemic."

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