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

MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County’s indoor face covering ordinance has been triggered, with countywide mask requirements taking effect as soon as this Friday.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published data Monday morning showing that Monterey County was in the “substantial” community transmission rate for Covid-19 as of Oct. 29, the same day the county’s new ordinance went into effect after its adoption in late September.

“This means the ordinance’s face covering requirements will take effect on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, unless the Board of Supervisors terminates the requirement,” said Maia Carroll, the county’s communications coordinator, in a news release Monday.

According to the ordinance, the mask mandate only applies when Monterey County’s community transmission rate is either “substantial” or “high,” as calculated by the CDC, and then takes effect seven days later. The ordinance is lifted either 30 days following the county’s transition from “substantial” or “high” to “moderate” or “low,” or upon order of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.

Beginning Friday, the face covering requirements will remain in effect for 30 days unless the Board of Supervisors terminates them before then.

Once in effect, the ordinance requires all residents over the age of 2 — both in cities and unincorporated areas — to wear face coverings in public indoor settings regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status, unless an exemption applies.

These exemptions include: when residents are in their own homes; with family members; alone in a closed room; or taking part in an activity where masks cannot be worn, such as eating or having a medical procedure.

Masks also do not need to be worn when: attending meetings with vaccinated or unvaccinated attendees where all vaccinated persons show proof of vaccination status (two doses of a two-shot vaccine or one dose of a one-shot vaccine) and all unvaccinated persons wear a face covering at all times other than when eating or drinking.

Regarding enforcement, the ordinance states that local businesses or entities with indoor facilities must enforce the face covering requirements for their personnel but not for customers or the public.

“Until the face covering requirements go into effect, Monterey County continues to follow state mask guidelines and Monterey County’s Health Officer continues to recommend all residents wear face covering indoors in public settings or in crowded situations,” Carroll said.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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