CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Contra Costa County on Thursday announced it will lift mask requirements in some indoor settings where everyone is fully vaccinated starting Nov. 1.
According to the county, eligible settings are in controlled spaces not open to the general public to include offices, gyms and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, indoor college classes, organized gatherings in any other indoor setting such as religious gatherings.
Under this order, participating businesses, organizations, and hosts must verify that all patrons, employees, and attendees are fully vaccinated before allowing people inside their facilities not to wear face coverings.
There can be more than 100 people present at these facilities, and the group of those present must gather on a regular basis. Those present should also 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,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County. “Of course, people in these places can keep wearing masks if that makes them feel more comfortable.”
Indoor-masking requirements would remain in effect for now in public settings, such as bars, restaurants and retail stores until other targets are met. Masking would also still be required in indoor K-12 school settings.
Contra Costa County is following in the footsteps of San Francisco and Marin counties, who have recently issued similar orders easing maskin requirements as COVID cases and hospitalizations have steadily declined since summer peaks.
In Contra Costa County, COVID-related hospitalizations are down to 69 from a summer high of 227 in August. Case rates in the county have seen a similar decline over the past two months.
“We’re in a safer place than we were two months ago,” Dr. Farnitano said. “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.”
According to county officials, the county will lift its indoor masking requirements for restaurants, bars, and retail stores when certain criteria are met, including when 80% of residents are fully vaccinated.
As of Thursday, Oct. 14, the county said 71.6% of all county residents were fully vaccinated.