ALAMEDA, Calif. - California's indoor masking requirement is set to expire Feb. 15 and on Monday afternoon, state officials announced they will not extend it.
But this move doesn't mean face coverings are a thing of the past.
On Monday night in Alameda, some people wore masks and some didn't outdoors.
"I think it may be a little too early to start it next week for indoors. Outdoors, I'm comfortable," said Greg Reichert of Oakland.
"For me, I'm not concerned, but there's enough people, young children. There's so many people that can be harmed," said Sue Stewart of Oakland.
The state's public health officer says the omicron surge is waning. Vaccines for children under 5 are on the horizon and access to COVID-19 treatments is improving.
But one public health expert says that is not enough.
"I really want to see cases go down, hospitalizations go down, deaths go down before we lift any mask mandates," said Mike Stanton, professor of public health at Cal State East Bay. "With such high occupancy in the hospitals, it's not a safe time yet to get sick or to have an injury or to have an accident."
"I contracted COVID a couple of weeks ago," Mike Gildea of Alameda said he only had a sore throat but was very concerned about infecting others, I know it's inconvenient. A lot of people don't like it. I don't like it, but I want to wear it until everybody's safe."
The lifting of the state mask mandate applies to counties without local mask orders of their own. Most Bay Area counties do have their own mask requirements.
Some said there needs to be a statewide standard to avoid confusion and encourage compliance.
"I have right now four people in my life who are very sick. Two babies and their adult caregivers are all sick. I think it's too soon," said Stephanie Dalton of Oakland.
Masks are still the rule for school children.
But health officials said they are continuing to evaluate the masking requirement for them.
Christian Saloma said his 5-year-old daughter is not vaccinated and is uncertain if lifting the mask mandate indoors is a good idea, "We have to take them off eventually maybe it's too soon maybe not."
"I'm more comfortable wearing a mask. That's my level of comfort. I'm just so used to it," Joanna Dizon of Daly City.
Counties that have their own mask mandates such as San Francisco, Contra Costa and Santa Clara are evaluating their local situations.
San Francisco County says it will provide an update on its local health order in the coming days.