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For Immediate Release
Masking rules remain unchanged in Sonoma County under new state requirements that take effect today
Santa Rosa,CA | December 15, 2021
Indoor masking requirements in Sonoma County, including its exemptions for indoor dining and some stable groups of fully vaccinated people, remain unchanged under a new statewide mask mandate from the California Department of Public Health.
CDPH will allow counties such as Sonoma, which has required facial coverings in most indoor public settings since August, to maintain their existing health orders around masking. This means that some workplaces, gyms, churches and other organizations in Sonoma County will continue to have the option of allowing stable cohorts of fully vaccinated people to remove their masks indoors, if the organizations verify vaccination status and qualify under other terms of an October 2021 amendment to the county health order. Masks may also be removed while actively eating or drinking indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Masks must continue to be worn indoors in all other public settings under the local order issued in August 2021 by Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase.
CDPH’s refinement to its statewide masking order, which takes effect today, recognizes the hard work of the people of Sonoma County to implement reasonable protections that have slowed transmission of COVID-19, Dr. Mase said.
“Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19, particularly as people gather indoors with the arrival of colder weather and winter holidays, increasing their risk of exposure to the virus,” Dr. Mase said. “But wearing a well-fitted mask indoors in public places can help protect you and those around you. Masks and other preventative measures, like avoiding large crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, remain essential with the Delta variant continuing to spread in Sonoma County and the Omicron variant detected in the Bay Area.”
The California Department of Public Health reinstated the statewide mask mandate Monday to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants following a 47 percent increase in COVID cases and 14 percent increase in hospitalizations since Thanksgiving. In Sonoma County, the seven-day average case rate has increased 40 percent and hospitalizations have increased 47 percent since Thanksgiving.
Local data collected over the past three months show that Sonoma County residents who are unvaccinated are 9 times more likely to become ill, 40 times more likely to become hospitalized and 16 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who have been immunized.