For Immediate ReleaseAugust 02, 2021
Decision driven by widespread COVID-19 Delta variant, which is substantially more transmissiable than previous forms of the virus.
The following is a joint statement on behalf of the counties of Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley
SAN RAFAEL, 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.
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.
“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,” said Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin County’s Deputy Public Health Officer.
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.
“Masking and vaccinations are the most important tools we have to end the pandemic,” added Santora. “The vaccine is safe, effective, free and widely available. We encourage all residents to do their part in wearing their masks to keep themselves, their families and their community safe. This is a short term, evidenced-based strategy to help keep our businesses open and support a safe reopening of schools.”
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.
The public can continue to monitor Marin County’s COVID-19 case rates and vaccination progress by visiting Coronavirus.MarinHHS.org. A current listing of Marin County vaccination sites can be found online: GetVaccinatedMarin.org. Businesses can access new mask requirement signs in English, Spanish, Bilingual (English & Spanish) and other formats on Marin Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 Communication Toolkit.
Laine HendricksPublic Information OfficerCounty Administrator's Office
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite #325San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7496Email: Laine HendricksCounty Administrator website