Alameda County, the only Bay Area county with mask mandate, ends rule

Photo of Eric Ting
A sign informs customers that a face mask is required to enter a grocery store in Millbrae, Calif., on Dec. 31, 2021.

A sign informs customers that a face mask is required to enter a grocery store in Millbrae, Calif., on Dec. 31, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Alameda County was the only Bay Area county that issued a mask mandate in response to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, and county Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss announced Friday that he was ending the rule, effective Saturday, June 25.

“Conditions have stabilized following the sustained increases in case reports and hospitalizations we saw throughout May,” Moss said in a statement. “While we expect continued impacts from COVID-19 in the coming weeks and masks remain strongly recommended, it is appropriate to step down from the Health Officer masking Order at this time.”

The mandate had been in place since June 3. Other Bay Area counties opted not to join Alameda County in mandating masks again, citing the fact that the highly vaccinated region is well-protected against severe illness and death. Hospitalization numbers in the region did not come anywhere close to the figures seen in the winter omicron surge.

When the rule was issued, District 1 Supervisor David Haubert criticized Moss for his decision.

"You can walk from Alameda to Contra Costa County and go into an indoor facility and have a very different experience," Haubert said. "It's hard for me to believe the science would be able to explain why. The virus doesn't know boundaries. I want us to be consistent with the rest of the region, where all of the counties agree on something and advance, and it's more than just one person who feels something is appropriate."