FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 2, 2021
Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley Indoor Masking Orders Take Effect Tuesday
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA – Vaccination continues to protect against severe COVID-19 illness, but with the COVID-19 Delta variant now infecting a small percentage of vaccinated people as well as many unvaccinated people, eight Bay Area health officers have issued Health Orders requiring masks indoors in public places. The Orders require all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions, starting at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, August 3rd.
Vaccines remain the most powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Nonetheless, the Delta variant is infecting a small percentage of the vaccinated in the Bay Area — who still remain strongly protected against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. In those instances of infection in a vaccinated person, a face covering prevents further spread. Bay Area health officials urge all unvaccinated residents 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Face coverings are one of our most effective tools in this pandemic. Increasing our use of masks is the easiest and best way to protect the health of our community from the Delta variant while still allowing many people to engage in the activities they love,” said Dr. George Han, Deputy Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “The vaccines have proven that they can effectively prevent severe illness and death, and they are continuing to do so. However, because the Delta variant is transmitted alarmingly easily, including by people who are vaccinated, we need the added protection of masks back into our lives until everyone is able to be vaccinated, especially children.”
These Health Orders aim to reduce community transmission of COVID-19 and protect everyone. Health officials are very concerned by the substantial levels of community transmission now found across the Bay Area, especially among unvaccinated people. In part, this is due to the widespread COVID-19 Delta variant, which is substantially more transmissible than previous forms of the virus. Recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also indicates that even fully vaccinated individuals can in some cases spread the Delta variant to others, and so indoor use of face coverings provides an important added layer of protection.
The new Health Orders require wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public settings. Indoor settings, whether public or private, are higher risk for COVID-19 transmission, especially when you are with people you do not live with. Health officials also recommend that all employers make face coverings available to individuals entering their businesses, and businesses are required to implement the indoor face covering order.
Today’s Health Orders are consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health, which recommend that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks while in indoor public settings. Bay Area Health Officers will continue to monitor data, including increasing vaccination throughout the region, to determine when the Orders can be adjusted or lifted.
More information on the County’s health order can be found on the COVID-19 page.
As of July 30, 2021, 84% of residents aged 12 and older have received their first dose, and 78% of residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated. The latest information about vaccines and appointments is available on the County’s vaccine website at sccfreevax.org.
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