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Contra Costa County lifts ‘some’ indoor mask mandates

In line with similar changes made in Marin County and San Francisco, Contra Costa County will soon relax indoor mask mandates in some small and specific settings where all people are fully vaccinated.

Beginning Nov. 1, masks will no longer be required in what the county refers to as “controlled spaces not open to the general public” with crowds of 100 people or less. Eligible settings include spaces like offices, gyms, employee commuter vehicles, college classes and religious gatherings. 

The amended health order requires that participating businesses or organizations confirm full vaccination status prior to allowing entry without face coverings. However, the revised order does yet not change indoor masking rules in K-12 school settings and public spaces like bars, restaurants and retail stores. 

Dr. Chris Farnitano, the county’s health officer, said in Thursday’s media release:

“We’re in a safer place than we were two months ago. My hope is that two months from now vaccinated people won’t have to wear masks in other places like restaurants, bars and retail stores. The way we get there is for those who remain unvaccinated to get immunized.” 

Farnitano has previously said he’d like to see the broad mask mandate lifted by the year’s end if the county increases the vaccination rate and continues to see a decline in cases.  

As of Thursday, more than 82 percent of the county’s eligible population — residents aged 12 and older — have been fully vaccinated, which represents nearly 72 percent of the total population. 

Contra Costa County experienced a summer spike in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths as a result of the Delta variant and relaxed health orders. Contra Costa Health Services reported 66 deaths in September and another 67 in the prior month. At the peak of the summer spike, the county reached a seven-day average of 220 hospitalized Covid patients — as of Thursday, that average is down to 70.

The county is still recording substantial virus transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Further information about the amended health order can be found here

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