SF + Bay Area’s New Mask Rule: What Does it Mean Exactly?
Earlier today eight different Bay Area health officers issued a joint statement requiring universal indoor masking starting August 3, 2021 at 12:01am with “limited exceptions.”
But what exactly are the exceptions and what is/isn’t allowed?
FAQ / New Universal Mask Mandate: A Breakdown
For all these exceptions that apply to designated settings, the masking requirement still applies when participants are not engaged in the activity where masks can be removed.
For instance, patrons dining indoors must wear masks when they are not eating or drinking and people showering in gym must wear masks when they are in the locker room outside the shower. Also, removal of masks even under these limited exceptions is only allowed to the extent state rules allow unvaccinated people to do so. The State rules for people who are not fully vaccination has not changed and still requires that they wear masks in all indoor public spaces.
See the summary of the new mask mandate that was issued on 8/2/21. Please note that this is breaking news and details may change rapidly.
In which cities/counties does the new mask mandate apply?
The new indoor masking orders apply to the ounties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley and take effect Tuesday, August 3 at 12:01a.
Who is exempt from the mask rule? Kids? Hearing Impaired?
The indoor masking requirement does not apply to individuals covered by specified medical disability or other safety exemptions or who are hearing impaired, children under two years old, and personnel who are subject to more stringent personal protective equipment requirements.
What about eating and drinking?
Individuals may temporarily remove masks while participating in certain activities, including while actively eating and drinking (e.g., in restaurants, concessions in movies or live performances, and office breakrooms). Individuals must wear masks at all other times when they are not actively eating or drinking, such as when patrons in a restaurant are seated at a table waiting to be served or leave the table to use the restroom.
Do I need to wear a mask in someone’s private residence?
The mandate does not apply to when you are attending small private gatherings in residences, although there is no definition of what “small” means
What About Homeless Shelters?
Masks are not mandated when showering, personal hygiene or sleeping (e.g., in gyms and homeless shelters and other congregate living situations).
Do I need to wear a mask while watching an indoor concert, comedy show or sporting event?
Yes. The indoor mask requirement applies to spectators and nonparticipants.
What About Facials, Beard Trims, etc…
Masks are not mandated while receiving personal care services where mask removal is necessary (e.g., facials, beard trims, facial piercing or tattooing, and facial massage). But a mask is required during all other services where mask removal is not necessary (i.e. haircuts, manicures, pedicures, etc…) While performing these services, the provider must wear an N95, respirator or procedural or surgical mask,
Other Mask Rule Updates
- Masking is required for other private social gatherings outside the home—e.g., wedding receptions in a hotel ballroom or
restaurant. And, even so, masking is recommended for private indoor gatherings in residences with other households, as described below.
- Masking is required in common areas for shared living settings, like common areas in hotels, shared rentals with multiple
households, dormitories and firehouses.
- Participants in professional sports, including practices, exhibitions and games are not required to wear masks, but participants are strongly urged to get fully vaccinated or tested regularly and to wear masks to the extent possible. The indoor mask requirement applies to spectators and nonparticipants.
- Theater/Comedy/Concerts – Performers in live audience or recorded settings, events or productions (e.g., theater, comedy concert, dance, radio, television and film performances, broadcasts or recordings) are not required to wear masks subject to the same safety rules as performers in professional sports. If they are not wearing well-fitted masks, performers also must maintain at least six feet of distance from the audience and performers are urged to maintain as much distance from one another as possible, especially while singing, shouting, chanting or playing wind or brass instruments.
- Religious Gatherings. Masks are not required while actively leading religious gatherings (e.g., religious leaders and
choirs, who are strongly urged to get fully vaccinated or tested regularly and to wear masks to the extent possible) and also for participants as needed for religious rituals (e.g., temporary removal of masks to take communion). If they are not wearing well-fitted masks, service leaders also must maintain at least six feet of distance from participants except for rituals where maintaining that distance is not feasible, and they are encouraged to maintain as much distance from other service leaders as possible.
- Indoor Recreation/Sports – Masks are not required while participating in certain indoor recreation and sports, consisting of:
- activities for which wearing masks poses an imminent safety hazard to the participants, such as wrestling; and
- water sports (e.g., swim lessons for children and adults, water sports, and adult recreational and exercise swimming), with requirements for face shields for swim instructors.
- Masks are not required while alone (or only with members from the same household) in a separate space in a public setting, such as a closed office or in a personal vehicle.