mask mandate

Unmasking New Indoor Mask Mandate in the Bay Area

"We may continue to see mutations of the virus and larger spread," a Contra Costa County Supervisor said. "The good news is getting vaccinated is the best protection."

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California's newly reissued mask mandate went back into effect Wednesday morning, but many people and businesses remain confused about what exactly the rules are.

What's clear, is that the rule applies to almost every Bay Area county.

In Concord, the managers of Aung Burma Restaurant are breathing a sigh of relief knowing the reissued statewide mask will not affect their business.

"We were very, very worried," said manager Jenny Phyo.

They thought the mandate could lead to new restrictions that would further limit indoor dining.

Part of the reason Phyo and others are worried is because the last rule which required proof of vaccination to eat inside led to anger among some customers.

However, people are now getting used to the idea.

"It turns out after a couple of weeks, all of our customers have been very helpful," Phyo said. "They're showing their vaccination cards along with their IDs."

The new reinstated rule specifies everyone must wear a mask in all indoor spaces again regardless of vaccination status.

But the state has since clarified that businesses that have already been allowed to operate indoors maskless will not have to ask people to cover their faces again.

"We do have an exception for Contra Costa, and that is for indoor gyms where all people are vaccinated and it's a closed group," explained Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia.

Since November 1st, the same mask exemptions have applied to most Contra Costa office buildings and church gatherings.

Just like gyms, those places are exempt from the new mask rule.

"We're even stricter than other places in California," said Concord resident Charlie Strader.

"I'm fine with it," said another Concord resident, Mike Cordero. "I wear my mask when I'm asked or required and keep my distance as I'm doing now," he told NBC Bay Area reporter Thom Jensen.

County Supervisor Gioia said people should be ready for more ebbs and flows in COVID-19 protocols.

"We may continue to see mutations of the virus and larger spread" he said. "The good news is getting vaccinated is the best protection."

If traveling across California for the holidays, people are advised to review mask rules per from county to county.

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