Monterey County supervisors vote to suspend indoor mask ordinance

In a vote on Tuesday, Monterey County's Board of Supervisors decided to suspend the indoor face covering COVID-19 ordinance effective immediately. 

The vote was close with two supervisors in favor of keeping protocol in place to continue masking indoors in most public settings. They were outnumbered by the three supervisors who voted for a change. 

While covering your face indoors will no longer be required county wide, the county's official Twitter account posted that wearing masks indoors is still strongly recommended to prevent transmission of the virus.

County officials in a statement said the ordinance was tied to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's community transmission rates. The ordinance was triggered as the county entered the "substantial" or orange level of transmissions of COVID-19. The red level is the next tier with "high" transmission.

At its upcoming December 8 meeting, the Board is expected to get a report on local metrics and COVID-19 data reporting where they may consider revising its indoor face covering ordinance to be tied to local data reporting as opposed to the CDC rates.

CDC's latest seven-day metrics for Monterey County ending Nov. 16, show a total of 363 COVID cases, 2.53% positivity rate and 14 new hospitalizations related to COVID. 

Employees and members of the public are still required to wear face coverings indoors at county worksites and facilities with limited exceptions.