State: Vaccinated people can skip masks in most settings
Tuesday was a day Dr. Van Do-Reynoso won’t forget.
It was the day that the state dissolved its color-coded tier system and got rid of all capacity and social distancing restrictions. In addition, the state updated its mask guidance, declaring that fully vaccinated people can go maskless in most settings.
Tuesday was also the day Santa Barbara County aligned with the state’s new guidance. The county retired its own public health order and adjusted its masking and distancing restrictions to match the state’s.
“Today is a day that we have been waiting for for a long time,” Dr. Do-Reynoso, the county public health director, said Tuesday as she discussed the state guidelines with the Board of Supervisors. “It’s been 453 days since Gov. Gavin Newsom issued California’s first stay at home order. June 15 marks the beginning of our journey towards full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Dr. Do-Reynoso reviewed the updated guidelines with supervisors, noting that unvaccinated residents are still required to wear masks in indoor public settings and businesses.
She also reviewed the new guidelines that essentially gives business owners three options: Make masks optional for fully vaccinated guests and allow customers to self-attest their vaccinated status, implement a vaccine verification system or require masks for all patrons regardless of vaccination status.
Despite the state changing its mask mandate for vaccinated residents, there remains a number of places where masks will still be required regardless of vaccination status. This includes public transit, indoors at K-12 schools, in healthcare settings, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, detention centers and at businesses that choose to require masks for all patrons.
In addition, masks will still be required at some large scale events for both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. According to the state’s new guidelines, events with more than 5,000 people indoors and more than 10,000 people outdoors will require masks for all people in attendance. This new guidance will remain in effect through Oct. 1.
The shift in guidance comes as Santa Barbara County continues to see a downward trend in new and active cases. As of Tuesday, the county’s adjusted daily case rate stood at 1.1 per 100,000 people, and the testing positivity rate stood at 0.8%.
On Monday, the county reported zero new cases of COVID-19. Dr. Do-Reynoso said that was the first time this has happened since the county reported its first case of the virus in March 2020.
“We can’t remember a time when we had zero cases other than before our first case, which was on March 15, 2020,” Dr. Do-Reynoso told supervisors.
On Tuesday, the county reported four new cases of COVID-19, with three new cases reported in Santa Maria and one new case reported in the South County areas of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria. The county’s active case total currently stands at 29 infections.
As of Tuesday, 65.4% of the county’s eligible 12 and older population received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 56.1% are fully vaccinated. Of the entire county population, 47.5% of people are fully vaccinated.