California’s Alameda County Reverts to Mask Mandate: ‘Here We Go Again’

FILE - In this May 29, 2020, file photo, people wearing face masks take an escalator to the second floor of the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, Calif. Gov. California's Alameda County said Thursday, June 2, 2022 it will reinstate an indoor mask policy in an effort to ease as …
AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli, File

Alameda County, which is located in California’s Bay Area, reimplemented a mask mandate Friday for its 1.6 million residents.

County health officials announced the order in a press release Thursday, requiring masking in indoor settings such as businesses, government buildings, the workplace, and healthcare facilities for individuals over the age of two. Additionally, the mandate in Alameda County — which is home to Oakland — extends to public transportation, including trains, busses, and ride-share apps, as well as transportation facilities like train and subway stations, bus terminals, and marinas.

Businesses, venue operators, and “others responsible for the operation of indoor public settings” are required to enforce masking and post signage at entrances to any given establishment, the order states.

The decree will not apply to “K-12 schools settings through the end of the 2021-22 school year” but will be mandatory at other youth programs, including summer school, according to the release. Additionally, Berkeley is not subject to the mandate as the city has its own health jurisdiction. The Los Angeles Times noted that “Berkeley’s K-12 public school system, however, has already implemented an indoor mask mandate.”

“Here we go again. This is my county,” tweeted Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip.

“Rising COVID cases in Alameda County are now leading to more people being hospitalized and today’s action reflects the seriousness of the moment,” said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss in Thursday’s release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorized Alameda County as currently having a “medium” coronavirus community level as the case rate between May 26 and June 1 stood at 354.33 per 100,000 people. The CDC’s masking recommendation for those living under a “medium” coronavirus community level is to consult with one’s healthcare provider to see if masking is needed.

Yet Alameda County has opted for a county-wide mandate, though officials noted in the release that the community level is expected to breach the “High” category “soon, given current trends.” The CDC recommends masking in indoor public settings for individuals in high community-level areas.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the “eight other Bay Area counties said Thursday they are not bringing back mask requirements at this time.”


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