Contra Costa County institutes vaccination mandate

Another Bay Area county is instituting a vaccination mandate for areas with high community spread  including indoor restaurants and gyms.  

Contra Costa County made this announcement last week to give people some time to prepare for the rule, which begins on Tuesday. 

At  one 24-Hour Fitness in Walnut Creek, the staff and members were prepared.

"I’m a nurse," said gym member Larry Varela. "I think it’s great. I think it’s really important that we’re all vaccinated in the gym. Sometimes people aren’t wearing their mask right and it’s kind of upsetting. But to say something to someone is kind of awkward, so it’s nice to know we’re all vaccinated before we get here. I feel safer." 

General manager Daren Echeveria said he made sure to put up lots of signs letting people know they'd have to show proof of vaccination. 

"We made sure that they knew what to expect coming in today and it's going very smoothly." 

In Contra Costa County, 85% of people 12 and older are partially vaccinated and 80% are fully vaccinated.

But the county health officer said there has been a spike in the last few weeks with both cases and deaths. He said they need to get those numbers down to bring relief to hospitals and keep kids in school.

This mandate is specifically for places indoors where there could be high community spread because people are taking their masks off to eat - like in bars and entertainment venues.  

Even though masks are still required in gyms, the health department says people are breathing more heavily and that can spread the virus more. So that also includes yoga studios and dance studios.

Employees of these locations have until Nov. 1 to show they’re fully vaccinated or get tested weekly.