Health officials in seven Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley issued a new indoor mask mandate Monday as the region faces a wave of new Covid-19 cases due to the more infectious delta variant and the remaining swath of unvaccinated residents.
The mandate will take effect Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties as well as Berkeley and require residents to wear a mask indoors in public settings like retail stores, regardless of whether they’re vaccinated or not.
Health officials in the seven counties also urged residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible if they have yet to do so, noting that the prevalence of the delta variant puts unvaccinated people at even higher risk of infection, serious illness and death.
While so-called breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people are possible, the health officials noted they remain exceedingly rare and the three available vaccines also significantly reduce the chance of developing serious illness or dying from Covid-19.
“While most Covid-19 exposures in Marin County are due to household transmission and gatherings in non-public indoor settings with unvaccinated persons, we’ve also seen a significant increase of clusters of Covid-19 cases, among both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, in public settings including outdoor and indoor events and performances where masks were not worn by vaccinated persons,” Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin County’s Deputy Public Health Officer, said in a statement on Monday.