Press Release

Bay Area counties recommend masking indoors for everyone as a precaution against increased circulation of COVID-19

San Francisco daily new cases have increased eight-fold and are projected to increase an average of at least 80 new cases per day.

With cases of COVID-19 rising locally and increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley recommend that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places to ensure easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those settings and as an extra precautionary measure for all.


In June, the Delta variants comprised 43% of all specimens sequenced in California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for 58% of new infections across the country.


Fully vaccinated people are well-protected from infections and serious illness due to known COVID-19 variants including Delta variants, and vaccinating as many people as possible, as soon as possible, continues to be our best defense against severe COVID-19 infection, and the harm it can do to our region. Vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available to everyone 12 and older.


Out of an abundance of caution, people are recommended to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated as an added layer of protection for unvaccinated residents. Businesses are urged to adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers. Workplaces must comply with Cal/OSHA requirements and fully vaccinated employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors if their employer has not confirmed the vaccination status of those around them.


“We are asking our residents to collectively come together again in this effort to stem the rising cases until we can assess how our hospital capacity will be impacted,” said San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip.


Bay Area Health Officers will revisit this recommendation in the coming weeks as they continue to monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths, and increasing vaccination rates throughout the region. See county-level COVID-19 data from the CDC.


“The Delta variant is spreading quickly, and everyone should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,” said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss. For masks to work properly, they need to completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of your face and around your nose.


People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. People with only one vaccine dose of Pfizer or Moderna not fully protected. Completion of the vaccine series is necessary to provide full protection.


Visit sf.gov/getvaccinated to learn where you can find a vaccination site near you or call 628-652-2700 to book an appointment, find a drop-in site, or if you have questions about the vaccine. If you missed your second dose, please find a vaccination clinic near you.