Marine lifts inner mask mandate in public on Monday

The county announced Friday that Marin County health officials will lift the local mask mandate that requires everyone to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, starting Monday at noon.

Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s public health officer, explained that the move represented a shift in internal mask requirements “from a legal mandate to a local recommendation,” he said.

He urged residents to continue to wear masks indoors.

“The face covering has been and will continue to be a critical tool to prevent the spread of the virus,” Willis said.

“Mandate has helped us get through the fourth wave, but as the local picture improves, we are moving from legal mandate to local recommendation,” Willis added. “This is part of the process of returning to normalcy.”

The mandate was put in place on August 2 as part of the Bay Area-wide public health response to the increase in cases related to the delta variant.

On October 7, Bay Area counties themselves established common criteria for raising county-level mask mandates, and recognition of counties would achieve those criteria at different intervals based on local numbers.

Marin County met all three criteria on Friday. Marin’s overall vaccination rate is above 80% of the population, hospitalizations have decreased and remained low, and the county has maintained 21 consecutive days of moderate or “yellow” level data in the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community transmission tracker.

The Marin change does not affect state face covering requirements for non-vaccinated individuals, school settings, companies, or organizations that require face coverings under the policy.

Additionally, some companies may choose to continue to require face coverings indoors for everyone, including those who have been vaccinated.

For example, the Board of Supervisors will require face coverings for all participants in person, regardless of vaccination status, starting with the first meeting of the Hybrid Board of Directors on Tuesday.

“This means that people can continue to call on Zoom, and they can come into our boardrooms,” said County Administrator Matthew Hemmel. He said in-person attendance would be “subject to reduced capacity limits, and masks would also be required.”

Marin residents are asked to continue to respect the various requirements still in place in the county and other locations by carrying and being prepared for face coverings while in public.

Marin has become one of the most vaccinated counties against the coronavirus in the United States. As of October 28, 93.4% of Marin’s population over the age of 12 – more than 222,000 people – have completed their series of COVID-19 vaccinations.

However, nearly 47,000 individuals in Marin did not complete the series of vaccinations or remained unvaccinated – including young children.

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