San Francisco, CA

What does the CDC mask recommendations mean for the San Francisco Bay Area?

Ed Walsh

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they live in areas with significant or high spread. But what does that mean for us in the San Francisco Bay Area?

The City and County of San Francisco has not changed its earlier recommendations first issued on July 16, 2021. Those rules stated that with cases of COVID-19 rising locally and increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley recommend that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places to ensure easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those settings and as an extra precautionary measure for all.

A joint statement from the San Francisco Bay Area counties advised that fully vaccinated people are well-protected from infections and serious illness due to known COVID-19 variants including Delta variants, and vaccinating as many people as possible, as soon as possible, continues to be our best defense against severe COVID-19 infection, and the harm it can do to our region.

Bay Area health officials say that out of an abundance of caution, people are recommended to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated as an added layer of protection for unvaccinated residents. The Bay Area health departments say businesses are urged to adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers. in addtiion, local health officials say workplaces must comply with Cal/OSHA requirements and fully vaccinated employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors if their employer has not confirmed the vaccination status of those around them.

“We are asking our residents to collectively come together again in this effort to stem the rising cases until we can assess how our hospital capacity will be impacted,” said San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip.

“The Delta variant is spreading quickly, and everyone should take aC.ction to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,” said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss. For masks to work properly, they need to completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of your face and around your nose.

Health officials caution that people are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But if you have only one vaccine dose of Pfizer or Moderna you are not fully protected. Completion of the vaccine both vaccine shots is necessary to provide full protection.

If you are a San Francisco resident, visit sf.gov/getvaccinated to learn where you can find a vaccination site near you or call 628-652-2700 to book an appointment, find a drop-in site, or if you have questions about the vaccine.

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