Citing a reduction in cases and hospital admissions, Contra Costa Health Services said “controlled spaces” that are not open to the general public – including offices, gyms, staff cars, indoor college classes and religious Organized events such as gatherings – may wear masks unless entrants show evidence that they are fully vaccinated.
These settings can only accommodate up to 100 people, and groups that gather must do so on a regular basis. The health department said no one entering those spaces could show signs of COVID-19.
“People who have been vaccinated will feel safe removing their masks in the office and while they work out in the gym,” County Health Officer Dr. Chris Fernitano said in a statement. “Of course, people in these places can keep wearing masks if they feel more comfortable.”
The county’s mask mandate will still apply to restaurants, bars, retail stores and other public places that allow the general public to enter the home. This also applies to K-12 public schools in the county.
Contra Costa’s new rules follow similar orders from San Francisco and Maran Counties – a trend in the Bay Area following a regional decline in corona virus cases following the addition of a Delta variant this summer. As of Wednesday, the county averaged about 16.8 cases per day, with about 2.2 cases among fully vaccinated people.
At present, 67 people are hospitalized in the county, and 23 are in the intensive care unit, according to Contra Costa Health Services.
Contra Costa, joining other Bay Area counties last week, announced what would be the need to carry an indoor mask mandate for people who are fully vaccinated in all public settings. The standard includes an 80% vaccination rate and a further reduction in cases and hospitals.
On Tuesday, Fernitano told the Board of Supervisors that the county is on track with its case count to meet all standards by December or early January.
He said in a statement Thursday that Delta’s rise had hampered the end of California’s Mask Mandate this summer, but with positive hospitalization trends, easing restrictions now makes sense.
“We are in a much safer place than we were two months ago,” said Dr. Fernitano. “My hope is that two months from now, vaccinated people will no longer have to wear masks in other places like restaurants, bars and retail stores. The way we get there is for those who are not vaccinated. Get vaccinated.