California new rules about mask wearing, indoors and outdoors

Ed Walsh

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San Francisco's EmbarcaderoEd Walsh

President Joe Biden on Tuesday released new guidelines lifting the mask mandate for people who are outside and are practicing social distace. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area and California authorities are echoing President Biden's guidance.

Governor Gavin Newsom relased this statement on Tuesday in reaction to President Biden's statement: “California has made incredible progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19, resulting in the lowest positivity rate in the country. And we have administered more than 28 million vaccine doses, including almost 6 million to those who live in our hardest-hit communities. After reviewing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s masking recommendations, and with science and data as our guide, we are moving to align California's guidance with these common-sense updates. While more than half of Californians 16 and older are partially or fully vaccinated, many others are still not vaccinated, and the threat of variants remains. We need to remain vigilant and continue public health prevention measures – like wearing masks when appropriate and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”

The San Francisco Health Department issued the following statement on masks on Tuesday: "Today’s announcement from the CDC that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in certain outdoor and indoor settings is positive news as it reflects the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing community spread and driving down case rates. As we recently did with the new guidance on indoor gatherings for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people, we must wait for the state to adopt the updated guidelines and ease its outdoor mask mandate before making changes to the local health order that we consider safe. We anticipate that we will adopt the guidelines as soon as the state allows.In the meantime, and because it is impossible to tell who is vaccinated and who is not, we recommend that those who are fully vaccinated (two weeks post final dose) continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing in public and when gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one household. We also encourage people to stay vigilant when visiting anyone who is unvaccinated and who might be or live with someone at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Choose outdoor gatherings and activities over indoor as they are much safer due to natural ventilation. We also recommend that, whether vaccinated or not, people get tested if exposed to someone infected."

President Biden on Tuesday reminded everyone that it is still important to wear masks outside in crowded areas such as baseball stadiums or outdoor concerts.

"I want to be absolutely clear," President Biden said. "If you’re in a crowd, like a stadium or a conference or a concert, you still need to wear a mask, even if you’re outside. But beginning today, gathering with a group of friends in a park, going for a picnic, as long as you are vaccinated and outdoors, you can do it without a mask. The CDC is able to make this announcement because our scientists are convinced by the data that the odds of getting or giving the virus to others is very, very low if you’re both been fully vaccinated and out in the open air. The CDC also have clarified which outdoor activities are safer or less safe, depending on whether you’ve been vaccinated. The bottom line is clear. If you’re vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors, as well as indoors. So, for those who haven’t gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you’re younger or thinking you don’t need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated, now, now. "

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