OAKLAND, Calif. (BCN) — Masking is once again required to enter city facilities in Oakland following a vote by the City Council Tuesday evening. Masking is required for people ages 6 and older.
The resolution passed with seven yes votes following a motion by Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and a second by Councilmember Dan Kalb. The resolution comes just a week after members of the advocacy group Senior and Disability Action demanded a return to masking to protect vulnerable members of the community.
“I am on immunosuppressive treatments and my doctors have told me that my entire family needs to avoid indoor spaces when masks are not required because the health risks are too high,” said Beth Kenny, member of Senior and Disability Action. “People should not have to go against medical advice to access their city government or get a book out of the library.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf last month ended the masking requirement through an executive order.
The new requirement is meant also to help the community stay safe from the flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, all of which are spreading and placing stress on the health care system.
“Wearing quality masks helps protect both ourselves and one another from the dangerous spread of respiratory diseases — and helps keep spaces accessible while protecting the long term health of the public,” Kaplan said last week in a statement. “With the growing dangers of long term harms from disease exposure and the importance of having public facilities be accessible for our communities, it is important to have masks.”
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Councilmembers Tuesday asked City Administrator Ed Reiskin to have his staff to determine the cost of providing masks for people entering city facilities through April 1, 2023. If required, Reiskin will bring forth a proposal for a budget amendment to cover the costs.
Reiskin was also tasked with bringing to the council a report on the state of the ventilation and air filtration systems in the city’s public facilities, including the cost of improving those systems. Reiskin is leaving his post as Oakland city administrator early next year to become the chief financial officer at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
The requirement to wear a mask in Oakland public facilities will expire on March 31, 2023, according to city records.
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