San Jose aligns with state guidelines, repeals mask requirement for most indoor settings

Masks will no longer be required indoors in most places across San Jose after the City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to align with the state's masking guidelines. 

While the state and Santa Clara County lifted their indoor mask requirements in mid-February and early March, San Jose has continued to require them in public places like grocery stores and restaurants. 

City officials said in a memo recommending repealing the mask requirement that keeping it in place has led to "public confusion" about masking policies and that the requirement is no longer necessary since COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have fallen precipitously in the year's first quarter. 

"With the recent transition by the Santa Clara County health officer from a mandate to a strong recommendation to wear face covering indoors, it makes sense to repeal our ordinance to align with the county and state and federal and minimize any confusion with the public," said Dolan Beckel, the director of the city's Office of Civic Innovation.

Under the state's guidance, wearing a mask indoors is recommended but not required in public places where people from different households frequently mix and interact, including schools. 

Masks will still be required regardless of vaccination status under state and federal rules in health care facilities, homeless shelters, prisons, long-term care facilities and on public transit.

The repeal of the city's mask mandate will take effect immediately as an urgency ordinance.