Officials announce criteria on when mask mandates can be lifted in Bay Area

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The criteria for the lifting of indoor mask mandates were released by Bay Area health officials following the pressure from the government officials and the public.

Despite vaccination status, indoor mask mandates are presently in place in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Sonoma.

According to the criteria of health officials on Wednesday, mask mandates can be lifted in the county if:

  •  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data tracker classifies it under “moderate” (yellow) level of case rates, and remains on the same status for three weeks;
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations are “low and stable”, according to its health officer; and
  • 80 percent of its population have completed their vaccine doses or following the eight weeks since the vaccines were authorized for young people aged 5 to 11.

The top requirement will most probably prevent masks from being removed because no county in the Bay Area has reached the “moderate” level at present.

Mask mandate was withdrawn in Santa Cruz County after it stepped into the moderate tier, but not for long as it was classified under the “substantial” tier again.

Meanwhile, San Francisco County said it will ease the mask mandate in “places where stable cohorts of fully vaccinated individuals gather.”

“These settings include offices, gyms, and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, religious gatherings, and indoor college classes or other organized gatherings of individuals who meet regularly, not exceeding 100 people,” the city’s news release said. “People in these settings may remove their masks if the employer or host of the gathering can control access to the setting and verify 100% full vaccination of everyone in the setting.”

The plans for returning to offices have been delayed by San Francisco’s mask mandate, which triggered criticisms, SFGATE reported.

Currently, only San Francisco has to release new protocols for gatherings of persons who regularly convene.