Face masks now required in all San Mateo County buildings

On Monday, one change in San Mateo County prompted another. At around 8 a.m., a county employee used adhesive to put up temporary signs informing that public face coverings are now required to enter all county buildings.

The move clears confusion as the old signs said face coverings were optional.

"Hashtag fail. So we need to improve on that," said David Canepa, President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

All 5,000 county employees are affected by the change, regardless of their vaccination status. This also applies to people doing businesses in one of the 20 affected buildings. 

San Mateo County has the highest COVID vaccination rate in the country, 89%. Still, some elected leaders fear there is a risk of infection.

"The delta variant in San Mateo County in COVID the last two weeks, our cases have nearly doubled," said Canepa.

SEE ALSO: 1st in Bay Area: Everyone must mask up in San Mateo County buildings

The new rule does not apply to state buildings, which continue to follow Center for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines. As of now, the federal government is recommending, not requiring, face coverings. The State of California is following suit.

"With every public health situation, we have to consider the local context. And so if cases are going up we have to adapt and make the necessary adaptations," said Dr. Marcelle Dougan, of the San Jose State University Department of Public Health & Recreation. "We can see that most of the infections are occurring among those who have not been vaccinated."

Some county workers said they have never stopped wearing their masks, fearful rising cases of the delta variant will make this year feel more like last year.

"Yeah, I have a feeling it will. I mean half of the United States is unvaccinated from what I understand. So it is going to be inevitable to have a rise again," said Jada Obaob, a San Mateo County employee.

Alameda County officials said they are considering recommending masks indoors. San Francisco health officials said they are considering new masking guidelines. The other Bay Area county health offices said they are monitoring the rising case numbers and will act accordingly.