Today, as the COVID-19 pandemic’s Delta wave shows signs of ebbing and the Bay Area stands out for its high vaccination rates, Health officers across the Bay announced their standards on lifting official mask-wearing requirements while allowing private entities to set their own—it being understood that state and federal face-covering rules will still apply in certain places until further notice. California on the whole will still have mask-wearing rules in place for unvaccinated people — as well as those in healthcare settings, on public transit, in nursing homes, and in schools — and today’s announcement has no bearing on those rules.
For a given County’s government to lift its masking requirement, the jurisdiction must be at the CDC’s Yellow tier for a minimum of 3 weeks, while the County must likewise see a stable amount (per its Health officer’s judgment) of COVID cases. In the meantime, 80% of that County’s population (children included) must be fully vaccinated (booster shots not applicable), and 8 weeks must have elapsed during which a COVID vaccine has been available to children between the ages of 5 and 11. Note: A COVID-19 vaccine for kids between 5 and 11 could be granted emergency authorization by the FDA as early as late October.
Private properties and businesses in Santa Clara County can still set their own specific masking rules. (And those in need of vaccines or booster shots can make appointments here.)
Said Health Officer and Director of Public Health for the County of Santa Clara Dr. Sara Cody in a statement: “Indoor masking has helped to lower case counts, hospitalizations, and COVID-19 deaths, so we don’t want to remove this important layer of COVID prevention too hastily. These regional metrics will help keep our community safe, and ensure that our case rates are low and stable, our hospitals are in good shape, and vaccination rates are robust.”