Public health officers in the Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley formally voiced their support Wednesday for the state keeping its mask mandate in place through June 15.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Monday that the state would keep its mask mandate in place despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating its mask guidance last week to permit fully vaccinated people to forgo wearing a mask both indoors and outdoors in most situations.
June 15 is also when the state plans to lift its tiered reopening system, formally called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing businesses to expand back to their full indoor capacities.
In a joint statement, health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties and the city of Berkeley said that while the CDC's update was supported by the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines available to the public, just 47 percent of state residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.
"This next month is critical to ensuring more of our residents can access vaccinations, and that businesses and other entities are able to prepare for implementation of the CDC's updated masking guidance," the health officers said in their statement.
Several Bay Area counties are well ahead of the state's vaccination percentage, having fully vaccinated more than 60% of people 16 and up.
In addition to the continued vaccination of adults, the 12 jurisdictions are also just starting to administer vaccines to children ages 12-15, who became eligible for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine last week.
"Thanks to so many in our community who have gotten vaccinated, we have come a long way and can finally start to see a return to normalcy in our area," Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said.