SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Health officials in San Francisco announced Monday evening that the city would adopt the new guidance on masking that state officials plan to use, following CDC recommendations.
Acting San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip released a statement after a decision by the state to generally align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new guidance on masking for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after they have received a single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Currently, individuals 16 and older are eligible to get vaccinated in San Francisco.
“The CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated, and in some instances unvaccinated, people no longer need to wear masks in certain outdoor settings is fantastic news that reflects the science and data we now have on the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing community spread and driving down case rates and the minimal risk of transmission outdoors,” said Phillip in a statement. “We are going to be updating our health orders and various directives to reflect these changes. That will likely take several days. However, our local face covering order will be updated sooner.”
Phillips also noted that after San Francisco reaches the state’s yellow tier, “fully vaccinated people can also dine outdoors at a restaurant with friends from multiple households without masks. We anticipate that will begin on May 6 along with some other industry-specific changes.”
Earlier Monday, California health officials officially loosened rules regarding wearing masks outdoors to match the new guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new guidance on masks replaces recommendations issued last November as cases surged throughout California and across the country.
As of Monday, the state’s 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate was at 1.1%, the lowest in the country. Changes in mask rules also come as the state reached more than 30 million vaccines administered and as the number of fully vaccinated Californians reached 12.86 million.
“Face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events when physical distancing is not possible,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement Monday. “For small outdoor gatherings, fully vaccinated persons are not required to wear face coverings while unvaccinated persons do.”
Situations where masking outdoors would continue to be required include attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals or sporting events. Outside of a few exceptions, masking indoors and on public transit continues to be required regardless of one’s vaccination status.
State guidance allows for the fully vaccinated to visit other fully vaccinated people or unvaccinated people from one other household “who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease” without masks or physical distancing.
Last week, the CDC said the fully vaccinated do not need to be masked at small outdoor gatherings or dining outside with friends at multiple households.