Some Bay Area Counties Unsure Whether or Not to Lift Mask Mandate

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California's mask mandate is set to expire next week, but the end of the state requirement won't mean an end to the debate.

In the Bay Area, most counties are still deciding whether or not to lift their masking rules.

On Wednesday, Santa Clara County announced it will not lift its local indoor masking requirements saying it "will continue to base decisions on whether and when to lift indoor masking requirements on the risks posed by COVID-19, using clearly defined metrics related to vaccination, hospitalizations, and COVID-19 case rates."

In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed said vaccinated people won't need to wear masks in most indoor settings. Take a look below:

The state's plans to lift the mask mandate will only apply to those who are vaccinated, and a UCSF Epidemiologist thinks it's the right step to take.

"I think the timing is appropriate," UCSF Dr. George Rutherford said. "We've seen a 70% decline since peak of Omicron on Jan. 14."

Dr. Rutheford explained its the right time to allow vaccinated people to take their face covering off, but said we should also be ready to ramp back up if needed.

"I think we’re reasonably comfortable with omicron being less severe, but the next variant we see may be completely different," he said.

California is lifting its mask mandate next week, but some Bay Area counties are still debating whether or not to follow the move. Jodi Hernandez reports

It will still be up to counties to make the final decision about whether the mask mandate will be lifted locally.

While Solano and Marin counties tell NBC Bay Area they plan to follow the state's recommendations, Contra Costa County and others are still on the fence.

"We should get ride of them," said Contra Costa County shopper Margarite Kelley." I think everybody is fine. Most people have had shots."

San Mateo County also said it will align with the state health department lifting the mask mandate Wednesday

“They’re making these decisions based in science and I understand that and support them,” said Supervisor David Canepa. “Me personally, I’m going to continue to wear my mask and my family.”

California’s mask mandate will expire in just days, but it’s up to each county to lift their own mandates and many haven’t decided if they’ll follow the state’s guidelines. Ian Cull reports.

While many are ready to say goodbye to the mask, others think the county should play it safe.

“We are looking at our data and where we are in the omicron wave and going through the process we normally do and don’t have a decision to share at this point,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

Supervisors worry about the confusion and asked the health officer to have clear messaging. 

“If we don’t somehow match the effort of the state publicizing that that’s not the case here in Santa Clara County, at least not right now, there’s going to be a lot of conflict between people walking into stores without masks and business owners saying you should have masks,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman.

Under the new state guidelines, masks will still be required at schools, hospitals and nursing homes as well as on public transit.

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