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Face Masks to Be Required Inside All San Mateo County Buildings Starting Monday

REDWOOD CITY (AP) -- San Mateo County supervisors announced late Thursday that, effective July 26, masks will be required in all county buildings and facilities for both employees and visitors.

In San Mateo County, 89 percent of residents over the age of 12 are vaccinated according to the health department. With COVID-19 cases ticking up, county leaders say they had to do something.

"Mask are very controversial, right, for some people. Some people don't like masks. Some people love masks," said San Mateo Board of Supervisors president, Dave Canepa.

Starting Monday, anyone who goes inside a San Mateo County building -- whether vaccinated or not -- will have to wear a mask. That includes more than 5,200 county employees as well as visitors.

"The board's main goal is to make sure that each employee is safe in their workspace," said supervisor Canepa.

He says the new mask mandate is in response to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in the county over the past 30 days. The requirement is getting mixed reactions among residents.

"Just the county building won't help. I feel like it has to be everywhere, otherwise it makes no sense," said Ravi Yadav, who lives in Redwood City.

"It's very important not just inside the buildings but also outdoors for the safety of everybody," said San Mateo resident Lida Munez.

"I don't feel like I'm any more at risk having to go into a government office than going into a restaurant or a private place of business," says Silvia Edwards from Woodside.

There is no end date for the county building mask mandate. Supervisor Canepa says they will be following the number of COVID cases in the county to determine when it is safe to go mask-less again.

So far, the mask mandate only applies to county buildings but supervisors say if the COVID case count keeps climbing, they will consider reinstating mask mandates at all indoor public locations -- including restaurants and stores.

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