CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (CBS SF) – Health officials in Contra Costa County announced that indoor mask requirements will be eased in some settings where everyone is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 starting in November.
Dr. Chris Farnitano, the county's health officer, said the easing of requirements comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have declined following the Delta variant surge over the summer.
"We're in a safer place than we were two months ago," Farnitano said.
Starting November 1, spaces such as offices, gyms, employee commuter vehicles, college classes and religious gatherings would be exempt from wearing masks indoors if the employer, group or host verifies all attendees are fully vaccinated.
Gatherings are limited to no more than 100 people present, the group must gather on a regular basis and attendees must not have COVID-19 symptoms.
"This will allow vaccinated people to feel safe removing their masks at the office and when they're working out at the gym," Farnitano said. "Of course, people in these places can keep wearing masks if that makes them feel more comfortable."
Face coverings would continue to be required for indoor public spaces, such as bars, restaurants and retail stores. Mask requirements remain in place for locations covered by state and federal mandates, including K-12 schools, medical settings and public transit.
Farnitano was hopeful that indoors mask requirements would be loosened even further in the coming weeks. "My hope is that two months from now vaccinated people won't have to wear masks in other places like restaurants, bars and retail stores. The way we get there is for those who remain unvaccinated to get immunized," he said.
County officials said indoor masks in restaurants, bars and restaurants would be lifted if certain criteria are met, including a full vaccination rate of 80%.
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