San Francisco, CA

Eight of nine Bay Area counties will lift indoor mask mandate on Wednesday

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(SAN FRANCISCO) Eight of the Bay Area's nine major counties will lift indoor mask mandates on Wednesday, following the state's lead which will also lift its mandate for vaccinated people the same day.

In a joint statement, health officials with Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma said they will lift their mandates, aligning with the state's newest guidelines. Notably, Monterey and Santa Cruz county will also drop their mask mandates, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Despite this move, health officials from several Bay Area counties are still recommending that everyone wear a mask in an indoor setting.

Santa Clara County, the only major Bay Area county to keep its mask mandate in place, noted that it may lift the mandate there as cases continue to trend downward.

This somewhat mixed message from health officials, both removing the mask mandate but recommending that people still wear the mask indoors, reflects the differing sentiments around masking up from the state's population. Despite the lift, some residents are still wary of COVID-19 and plan to keep wearing their masks.

David Barclay told NBC Bay Area that there is still too much uncertainty and as such, he'll keep his mask on.

"You never know, and not all the kids are vaccinated yet. If I'm in a busy place, I'm gonna feel more comfortable having the mask on," he said.

Notably, the lift of the indoor mask mandate will not apply to schools, health care institutions or public transit. Riders will still be asked to wear their mask in transit just like nurses, teachers and students will still be expected to wear their masks at work or school.

During a press conference at an Oakland restaurant last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged the frustration of parents and students across the state, some of whom have consistently protested mask mandates in schools, noting that a formal decision on school mask mandates is upcoming.

“We are getting closer and closer to making public an announcement on mask wearing in our public schools,” he said during the news conference. “No one looks forward to that more than I do.”

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