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Most Bay Area counties to lift indoor mask mandates next week

A masked super market worker loads meat into a freezer.
Gilbert Mercier
Flickr / Creative Commons
A masked super market worker loads meat into a freezer.

Ten of the 11 Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Solano counties, as well as the city of Berkeley – will all drop their requirements to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, next week.

Governor Gavin Newsom previously announced that the state will drop its indoor mask mandate next week.

The 10 Bay Area counties will still require masks indoors for unvaccinated people, for ages two and up. The same rules will also apply for health care facilities, homeless shelters and on public transit.

Masks will also be required in K-12 schools, but state officials have indicated they are reconsidering school masking requirements and could make changes in the coming weeks.

State public health officials said Monday that the statewide mask mandate, which has been in effect since Dec. 15, would expire as the state's COVID-19 case and hospitalization numbers have plummeted from the record highs of the omicron variant surge.

The lone holdout among Bay Area counties is Santa Clara, with county health officials arguing lifting local indoor mask requirements would present an unnecessary risk to residents who are vulnerable to the virus.