San Francisco ends outdoor mask mandate for vaccinated people

San Francisco has officially aligned itself with state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for outdoor face coverings and masks to prevent the spread of COVID. 

On Monday, San Francisco Department of Public Health acting health officer, Dr. Susan Philip issued a statement that further incentivizes the vaccine by promoting being able to unmask outdoors in most situations as long as you're fully vaccinated.

"The CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated, and in some instances unvaccinated, people no longer need to wear masks in certain outdoor settings is fantastic news that reflects the science and data we now have on the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing community spread and driving down case rates and the minimal risk of transmission outdoors," Philip wrote.

Fully vaccinated means two weeks have passed since your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shot. Or two weeks since your single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. 

"These changes mean fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people can forgo mask-wearing while engaging in outdoor activities such as walking, running, hiking or biking alone or with members of the same household," Philip's statement read.

As for that now commonplace gesture where you approach someone outdoors in public and pull your mask up onto your face; you won't need to do that anymore (again assuming you are fully vaccinated). Transient passing of people is not a risk of transmission, Philip said.

And for those who are not fully vaccinated, Philip had this to say: You should wear a mask outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained. For instance, if you stop for a prolonged conversation, or pass a lot of people on a crowded sidewalk, you should put on a mask.

Everyone unvaccinated or not should still be wearing masks at large events or crowded outdoor settings (think Giants or A's games and live outdoor music events). For the city of San Francisco that means 300 people or more. 

"After we reach the state’s yellow tier, fully vaccinated people can also dine outdoors at a restaurant with friends from multiple households without masks. We anticipate that will begin on May 6 along with some other industry-specific changes," said Philip.

The statement reminds you to keep your masks handy. While you can walk to the gym or other situations without wearing one, once you head inside the mask is required. That goes for indoor dining, movie theaters, salons, museums and public transit. 

For more on when to wear a mask, check San Francisco's guidelines here.