The Weekend Leader - San Francisco to ease mask requirements for limited indoor settings

San Francisco to ease mask requirements for limited indoor settings

San Francisco



San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that indoor mask requirements will be lifted on October 15 in certain, limited settings as long as the rates of Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations remain stable or decline.

This includes places where stable cohorts of fully vaccinated individuals gather, and where other safety measures are followed, the announcement said.

These settings include offices, gyms, and fitness centres, employee commuter vehicles, religious gatherings, and indoor college classes or other organised gatherings of individuals who meet regularly, not exceeding 100 people, reports Xinhua news agency.

People in these settings may remove their masks if the employer or host of the gathering can control access to the setting and verify 100 per cent full vaccination of everyone.

The employer or host must also ensure proper ventilation, no recent Covid-19 outbreaks, and children under 12 and guests are not present, among other safety measures, the announcement added.

"I'm excited that we're once again at a place where we can begin easing the mask requirements, which is the direct result of the fact that we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, our cases have fallen, and our residents have done their part to keep themselves and those around them safe," said Breed.

"Our economy is bouncing back, the city feels like it is coming alive again, and this is yet another milestone in our recovery," she added.

San Francisco, along with eight other Bay Area jurisdictions, also released the criteria for lifting the indoor universal mask mandate in most other settings once a sustained period of low and stable Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations have been achieved and a high threshold of the population is fully vaccinated, including children.

"Throughout this pandemic we've implemented common sense measures like masking and vaccinations to protect us through four surges in Covid-19 while keeping hospitalizations manageable," said City Health Director Grant Colfax.

San Francisco has a current weekly average case rate of 77 cases per 100,000, a drop from 309 at the height of the summer's surge.

Cases among fully vaccinated individuals are currently at 7.4 per 100,000, while among those not fully vaccinated are 14.4 per 100,000 - IANS

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