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Marin County to drop mask mandate in most indoor spaces, though use still recommended

Marin County will Monday lift a local mask mandate requiring face coverings in indoor public places, county health officials announced Friday.

While the mandate ends at noon Monday, masks are still recommended, according to Dr. Matt Willis, the county’s public health officer. Also, the change doesn’t affect state requirements for unvaccinated individuals, school settings, businesses or organizations requiring face coverings.

Willis said in a statement:

“Face covering has been and will remain a critical tool for preventing spread of the virus. The mandate helped get us through the fourth wave, but as the local picture improves, we’re shifting from a legal mandate to local recommendation.”

The change is part of the process of “tiptoeing back toward normalcy,” the public health officer said.

Marin County’s mask mandate was put in place August 2 as part of a Bay Area-wide — with the exception of Solano County — public health response to the Delta variant case surge. On October 7, Bay Area counties established criteria for lifting county-level mask mandates. Marin County met the criteria on October 29, county officials said.

The vaccination rate is above 80 percent of the total population, hospitalizations have declined and remained low and the county maintained 21 consecutive days of moderate level data on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Transmission Tracker, according to health officials.

Residents are asked to continue respecting businesses, agencies and other entities that may choose to continue requiring face coverings indoors for everyone, including those who are vaccinated.

In a similar move, Alameda County residents will be allowed to eschew masks in some indoor settings starting Monday, thanks to declining coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the county.

Alameda County health officials announced the change Thursday.

Eligible Alameda County settings include controlled spaces closed to the public such as offices, gyms, employee commuter vehicles, and other places, such as churches, where groups gather on a regular basis.

No more than 100 people can gather without masks, everyone must be free of COVID-19 symptoms and the host organization, such as the church or business, must verify that everyone attending is fully vaccinated.

The city of Berkeley is also easing masking requirements Monday in a similar way as Alameda County. Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma counties have eased masking requirements in similar ways recently.

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