SAN FRANCISCO - As of today, mask mandates are less strict in San Francisco and Marin counties, thanks to vaccinations and compliance with rules. In fact, you can take off your mask indoors in most settings if you're fully vaccinated.
Through compliance, cooperation and sheer force of will, these two counties, bridged by one of the world's great icons, have truly earned it.
Masks will not be required in certain indoor settings with fewer than 100 people, which include gyms, fitness centers, offices, employee commuter vehicles, churches, religious gatherings and college classes.
At a 24-Hour Fitness in San Francisco, General Manager Mike Eubank welcomed the news. "I'm sure there are going to be happy people," he said. " There are also people that are still choosing to wear their masks as well."
Marin businessman Emile Green is excited about the new rules as well. "I think it is time to start opening up more because more people are vaccinated and more people have more, you know, more iummunity to the virus," said Green.
Emily Johnson just came back from Colorado where she says there are essentially no rules. "I do trust California's regulations a little bit more and it seems like most of the people I talk to are vaccinated," said Johnson.
But this relaxation is all subject to certain conditions. The people in charge must verify that all present have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks. They also must control access to the facililty, which cannot be open to the general public or children.
Additionally, there can be no more than 100 individuals present. Each attendee's name must be on a list. "If a group has 100% vaccination, that's overall, a lower risk environment than when there is mixing of vaccinated and unvaccinated people," said Marin County Public Information Officer Laine Hendricks.
Masks are still required in retail stores, restaurants, bars and other businesses open to the general public, common areas of buildings, elevators and restrooms.
"Because we really want to make sure that people will continue to wear their masks indoors in the areas where they my not know that those around them are vaccinated or not," said Hendricks.
Bay Area health leaders recently released criteria to loosen the mask restrictions, which state in part that at least 80% of its eligible population vaccinated. Both San Francisco and Marin counties meet that mark.
Any business has the option of keeping its mask rules in place.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 15: Gabriel Carvalho works out without a face mask a Fitness SF gym on October 15, 2021 in San Francisco, California. The City and County of San Francisco has started to ease indoor mask mandates today that allows
"I am a little bit excited about it. We have to get back to normal at some point but we have to do it safely. So, I think they're doing it safely, responsibly and, you know, just a little bit at a time," said Jennifer Green.
"When you're talking with people, it's better without a mask. But I think people are flexible and they've adjusted," said Rose Hodges. All of this is, of course, dependent on no new significant surges as well as new virus variants.
Face coverings are still required when you are seeking healthcare (including any waiting rooms), inside a K-to-12 school, childcare facility, youth sports, or other youth setting, at a business or venue that chooses to require masks for all patrons and staff, in a jail, homeless shelter, cooling center, emergency shelter or a long-term care facility or adult senior care center.
Elsewhere in the Bay Area, Contra Costa County health officials say will soon follow in these same footsteps.
Starting November 1, masks will not be required in these same settings. Nearly 90% of that county's population is vaccinated.