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Bay Area Businesses Await New Guidelines as Some Counties Consider Lifting Mask Mandate

New mask guidelines are expected to be announced as soon as Thursday as some Bay Area counties are considering lifting it.

Local businesses are watching closely, waiting for new framework and restrictions so they can plan their next steps.

The owners of Halal International and Greek Market want customers to come in and enjoy shopping. But at the same time, signs are posted about current mask requirements in San Mateo County.

“We try to make everyone happy,” said employee Abdo Shami. “I usually tell them the rules right now is you have to wear a mask. So I tell them, ‘you want to come in, you definitely need to wear a mask’.”

Owners are considering what it would be like when the rules are relaxed.

“If they come without masks and the regulations lift off, then I’m not going to force it,” Shami said. “But as my employees, they will still wear masks to just protect ourselves and everyone around us.”

Bay Area health officials from several counties that have an indoor mask order are discussing how and when to relax mask restrictions that were put back into place in early August as the Delta variant spread rapidly.

Contra Costa County’s health officer Ori Tzivieli spoke Tuesday night to other county supervisors and revealed what will be looked at before the mask mandate is removed.

“The criteria for easing restrictions will include a combination of the rates of the local community transmission, vaccination rates, rates of COVID in the community and the number of people in the hospital,” XXX said.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa said its important to understand the data and be patient with the timeframe.

“People shouldn’t expect the masks to be removed tomorrow,” he said. “I think there is going to be three weeks but tomorrow will be an announcement on sort of what the data looks like to make a determination to create a frameworks for the removal of those masks.”

There is even more to consider in communities with lower vaccination rates.

“In those communities we will still recommend that people wear masks indoors as an additional measure of protection,” he said. “They wont have to once we lift the order but its still a good idea.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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