COVID-19 case rates are down and vaccinations are up in San Francisco, leaving some to wonder if it's time to loosen mask mandates.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the city's Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax said discussions are ongoing to figure out "where there may be flexibility." While the nature of the changes and the timing are unclear, Colfax said his team is taking a look at the issue.
In terms of transmission rate, San Francisco is at 2.3%, and California is at about 3%, down from 7% a week ago.
Dr. Monica Gandhi of UCSF said a transmission rate of under 5% is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention threshold to lift mask mandates.
“We’re seeing the number decline, and of course many of the indoor venues require that people are vaccinated," said Mayor London Breed.
But there are some concerns that lifting the mandates too soon could lead to another surge of infections. Especially with the delta variant which has also infected many people who have already been vaccinated.
“I want to say that I’m for masks indoors … until we’re out of it totally,” said Jessica Palacio of San Francisco.
Breed said she isn’t hearing a lot of push back from business owners about the mandates that are in place now and pointed out that most establishments where masks are likely to come off, also already require proof of vaccination to enter their stores.
“Whether they get rid of it or not, I’m going to still wear mine,” said Andrew Petrazzuoli of San Francisco.
Meanwhile, another positive step towards ditching masks is vaccination rates likely jumping higher once a shot is approved for children ages 5 to 11.