Novel Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) (CDC Image)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Residents in the counties of Monterey, Napa, San Benito and Santa Cruz are being advised to wear masks indoors in public places, regardless of vaccination status.

Announced Monday, the multi-county recommendation is not an order, but was issued in response to cases of Covid-19 rising locally and increased reports of the highly infectious Delta variant.

Residents are recommended to wear masks indoors in places like grocery or retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated, out of an abundance of caution.

The four counties have urged businesses to adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas of their establishments to provide better protection to their employees and customers.

“This will also make it easier for businesses to be sure unvaccinated people are masked,” according to a county news release Monday. “Workplaces must continue to comply with Cal/OSHA requirements.”

The health officers of Monterey, Napa, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties stated July 19 that the Delta variants are spreading quickly in the region and that Covid-19 hospitalizations among the unvaccinated are increasing. The Delta variants are easier to pass between people.

The health officers urge everyone to take action to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask indoors and in crowded settings.

In June, the Delta variants comprised 43% of all specimens sequenced in California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for 58% of new infections across the country.

“Vaccinating as many people as possible, as soon as possible, continues to be our best defense against severe Covid-19 infection and the harm it can do to our region,” the news release continued. “Vaccines are very effective, free, and widely available to everyone 12 years and older.”

In the coming weeks, the health officers will revisit the recommendation for everyone to mask indoors in public settings as they continue to monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths and increasing vaccination rates.

Visit or call 2-1-1 to find local vaccination sites.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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