What's Your Bay Area County's New Mask Mandate?

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A woman, wearing a face mask, stands behind the counter of a restaurant. There is plexiglass separating her from a customer who is also wearing a face mask.
An employee helps a customer at a restaurant on 24th and Mission streets in San Francisco on March 19, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Updated 12 p.m. March 2

The state of California announced on Feb. 28 that as of March 1, masks will "no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings."

The move updates the state's previous guidance, which stated that only vaccinated people could remove their masks in most indoor settings.

Here in the Bay Area, eight counties — Alameda (including the City of Berkeley), Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma — lifted indoor mask requirements for most public spaces back on Feb. 16. Most Bay Area counties have confirmed that they're now aligning with the state to expand this guidance to unvaccinated people as well as vaccinated people. See the current mask mandates in your Bay Area county.

Santa Clara County lifted its own mask mandate on March 2 — and this rule change also includes unvaccinated people. Read more about Santa Clara's mask mandate.

Everyone — regardless of vaccination status — will need to wear a mask on public transit and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and K-12 schools.

The state also announced Monday that starting March 12, masks will not be required in schools and child care facilities, but likewise will be strongly recommended. Local communities can still determine their own rules on masking. Read more about kids masking in schools.

We'll continue to update this guide below with details for Bay Area counties as we confirm their decisions.

What's the difference between California's mask mandate and my county's?

Counties always have the ability to enact stricter mask rules than the state — so if your county had a mask mandate that’s more restrictive than state rules, that’s the one you had to follow.

That's why when Santa Clara County officials announced they would keep more restrictive mask rules in place after the state's mask mandate expired on Feb. 15, those who work, live and learn in that county still had to follow county rules, despite the statewide mandate ending.

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Now that Santa Clara County has announced it'll drop its mask mandate and align with the state, starting March 2 most of the Bay Area will be aligned with the state's new masking guidance. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated Californians may now take off their masks in most indoor public settings, including stores, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters.

We’ll continue to closely monitor whether counties will further update their guidance.

Keep reading to find the county where you live, work or study for the latest masking rules, or use the links below — and bookmark this page for updates to mask mandates in the Bay Area.

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Alameda | San FranciscoContra CostaMarinNapaSan MateoSanta ClaraSonomaSolano

Mask mandates in Bay Area counties

Alameda

Alameda County lifted universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings in the county starting Feb. 16 (including the City of Berkeley, which has its own public health department). Alameda has confirmed that it's aligned with the state's guidance to extend this to unvaccinated people as of March 1.

This means both unvaccinated and vaccinated people will no longer have to wear masks in indoor public spaces, although indoor masking will still be required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit, in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities, and in K-12 schools and child care settings.

San Francisco

As of Feb. 16, people who are up to date with their eligible COVID-19 vaccinations — this includes booster shots if you currently qualify — can take their masks off in indoor public spaces in San Francisco.  Officials have confirmed that SF has aligned with the state's guidance to extend this to unvaccinated people as of March 1.

Indoor masking is still required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit, and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, and in K-12 schools and child care settings.

Contra Costa

Contra Costa County lifted universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings in the county starting Feb. 16. Contra Costa has confirmed that it's aligned with the state's guidance to extend this to unvaccinated people as of March 1.

This means people will no longer have to wear masks in indoor public spaces, although indoor masking will still be required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit, and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, and K-12 schools and child care settings.

Marin

Marin lifted universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings in the county starting Feb. 16. Marin has confirmed that it's aligned with the state's guidance to extend this to unvaccinated people as of March 1.

This means people will no longer have to wear masks in indoor public spaces, although indoor masking will still be required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit, and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, and K-12 schools and child care settings.

Unvaccinated individuals over age 2 will continue to be required to wear masks in all indoor public settings in Marin County.

Napa

Napa County has announced it will follow the state and lift universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings in the county starting Feb. 16. (Napa has not yet confirmed to KQED whether it's aligning with the the state's guidance to extend this to unvaccinated people as of March 1.)

This means people will no longer have to wear masks in indoor public spaces, although indoor masking will still be required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit, and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, and K-12 schools and child care settings.

San Mateo

San Mateo County has announced it will follow the state and lift universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings in the county starting Feb. 16. San Mateo has confirmed that it's aligned with the state's guidance to extend this to unvaccinated people as of March 1.

This means people will no longer have to wear masks in indoor public spaces, although indoor masking will still be required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit, and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, and K-12 schools and child care settings.

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Santa Clara

Santa Clara County lifted its own mask rules on March 2, after a few weeks of being the only Bay Area county with an indoor mask mandate.

County officials confirmed on March 1 that Santa Clara had achieved its three required metrics to end the mandate and to, instead, only recommend indoor mask usage. This rule change extends to unvaccinated people, who also are no longer required to wear masks indoors.

Indoor masking is still required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and K-12 schools and child care settings.

 

Sonoma

Sonoma County has announced it will follow the state and lift universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings in the county starting Feb. 16. (Sonoma has not yet confirmed to KQED whether it's aligning with the the state's guidance to extend this to unvaccinated people as of March 1.)

This means vaccinated people will no longer have to wear masks in indoor public spaces, although indoor masking will still be required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit, and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, and K-12 schools and child care settings.

Solano

Solano County lifted universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings in the county starting Feb. 16. Solano has confirmed that it's aligned with the state's guidance to extend this to unvaccinated people as of March 1.

This means people will no longer have to wear masks in indoor public spaces, although indoor masking will still be required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — on public transit, and in health care settings, congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, and K-12 schools and child care settings.

This post includes reporting from KQED's Kate Wolffe and Farida Jhabvala Romero. A version of this post was originally published on Dec. 29, 2021. KQED will update this post as new information becomes available.

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