Employees and customers will mask back up due to a new health order. (Photo: EyeSpyCC)
Vaccines continue to be the most effective way to protect people from COVID-19, however a new Delta variant of the virus has shown the ability to infect even vaccinated individuals.
This and the combination of unvaccinated people who are contracting the virus are driving new case numbers and the need to return to mask mandates. Just announced in California, health officials in the Bay Area have issued health orders requiring masks indoors in all public places.
The order, which requires all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions, began at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, August 3rd.
Officials at a news conference announced the order, it applies to most public settings, with limited exceptions, in Santa Clara County, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma and the city of Berkeley. The mandate applies to everyone regardless of vaccination status.
Responding to the Variant
Officials took the steps to get ahead of potential life-changing lockdowns and said the Delta variant was responsible for the new mandate. The announcements were guided by the California Department of Public Health and the CDC.
“We wish we weren’t in this place right now having to make this order,” said George Han, deputy health officer for Santa Clara County, on Monday. “But what’s happened is the virus has changed. The Delta variant is now the predominant variant in our area and across the county.”
Here’s how the new order breaks down in California:
- The update to the order adds a new requirement for all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear masks while in indoor public settings. The new requirement applies to everyone in the county, including patrons, participants, and visitors, as well as personnel (employees and contractors).
- For indoor dining, all patrons must wear a mask while not actively eating or drinking.
- Masks must remain on inside gyms, movie theaters, hair and nail salons or retailers. In Santa Clara County, businesses are obligated to enforce the mask mandate and residents can submit complaints about businesses failing to do this on the county website.
Ventilation Requirements for Restaurants:
In order to allow patrons to dine indoors, you must use one of the following ventilation strategies:
- all available windows and doors accessible to fresh outdoor air are kept open as long as air quality and weather conditions permit;
- fully operational HVAC system; or
- appropriately sized portable air cleaners in each room.
New Required Posting:
- 11 x 17: Masks Required For All Signs (REQUIRED to post for the public)
In San Francisco and other cities, officials are in the process of creating additional recommended postings, which will be made available soon. We’ll provide updates as they become available.
NYC Mandates Proof of Vaccine for Indoor Dining
New York City is the first U.S. city to require proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for indoor dining, gyms and performances. The program will begin on September 13th as students return to schools and workers to offices in the city.
Officials are hoping the new mandate will prompt people to get vaccinated, “If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.
SF Bars & Restaurants Requiring Proof of Vaccine
A growing number of number of SF Bars and restaurants are mandating proof of vaccine. In fact SF Eater has a list of all SF Bars and restaurants that require proof of vaccination. It’s a sad reality that owners and operators are desperate to get ahead of the curve and to keep from going further back down the path we’ve been on for the last year and a half.
Restaurants and bars have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. These new measures hope to allow establishments to continue to operate while fighting the virus.