ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Citing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Alameda County health officials announced Thursday that mask requirements for most indoor settings will be reinstated, according to a press release. The order will begin on Friday, June 3 at 12:01 a.m. in all Alameda County cities — except the city of Berkeley which has its own local health jurisdiction.

However, mask requirements will not apply to K-12 school settings through the end of the 2021-22 school year. Masks will be required for all other settings where youth and children are present, including childcare, summer school, and youth programs.

Masks will be required in these indoor spaces:

  • Grocery stores
  • Libraries
  • Office workplaces
  • “Any place people are gathered together,” according to Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss

During the omicron surge last winter, Alameda County required masks inside gyms, fitness centers, office settings, and other similar settings, as KRON4 reported in December.

Alameda County reported that the current rate of COVID-19 cases have exceeded last summer’s delta variant wave and that it is “approaching” levels of cases during the omicron surge of last winter.

Following the omicron surge, Alameda County lifted its mask mandate in February.

“Rising COVID cases in Alameda County are now leading to more people being hospitalized and today’s action reflects the seriousness of the moment,” Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in the press release. “We cannot ignore the data, and we can’t predict when this wave may end. Putting our masks back on gives us the best opportunity to limit the impact of a prolonged wave on our communities.”

Bay Area county mask mandates

KRON4 News reached out to several other Bay Area counties about potentially reinstating indoor mask rules. Santa Clara County confirmed to KRON that it had no plans reinstate its indoor mask requirement at this time.

“The County of Santa Clara is always re-evaluating our data in the context of our vaccination rates, our case rates, our healthcare capacity and what we are learning about any new variants, and our policies are updated as needed. At this time, we do not have any plans to require masking indoors, although we continue to strongly recommend it for everyone,” said Santa Clara County Public Information Officer or Media Relations in a statement to KRON4.

Sonoma County said it does not plan to reinstate a mask mandate but will “continue to monitor the situation,” a county spokesperson said in an email to KRON4.

Contra Costa County also confirmed that it will not be reinstating its indoor mask rule at this time.

“We do not have plans at this time to reinstate a masking order in Contra Costa, although we do strongly recommend the use of high-quality masks indoors. While we are seeing a a surge in cases, hospitalizations remain relatively stable at the moment and well below the peaks we saw during earlier waves. We continue to monitor case, wastewater and hospitalization data closely and we will let our community know if further precautions are needed,” said Contra Costa County Health Services Community & Relations Manager Will Harper.

San Francisco County has also declined to reinstate its indoor mandate, telling KRON “San Francisco continues to strongly recommend but not require people to wear masks in indoor, public settings.”

Likewise, San Mateo County told KRON it “is not considering issuing a local health order to require masking in indoor public spaces,” and that it continues “to urge residents to choose to wear high-quality masks.”

Marin County Public Health also revealed to KRON4 that it had no plans to reinstate indoor mask mandates at this time, saying that, “while no local mask mandates are planned, Public Health reminds residents and employers that a properly worn mask helps protect the wearer and those around them against infection.”

Napa County is does not plan to reinstate a mask mandate, said Public Information Officer Leah Greenbaum.