Health officials: CA mask mandate remains in effect in SLO, Santa Barbara counties

Posted at 7:21 PM, May 14, 2021

According to the CDC, people who are fully vaccinated can take off their masks indoors with exceptions for places like health care facilities, airplanes, homeless shelters, and other congregate settings.

What does this mean for California's mask mandate?

County health officials are reminding locals that the CDC's guidelines do not override mask orders issued by states or counties.

"Santa Barbara County, SLO County, Ventura County, everyone in California regardless, we need to wait for what our California of Public Health says how they are going to amend the current masking orders," said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County Public Health Director.

“While we anticipate that State masking guidelines may change in the weeks ahead, they are currently still in effect, including in workplaces,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer. “Many local businesses also have masking requirements in place, and I encourage everyone to respect and support these local business rules.”

For now, the CDPH hasn't put out any new guidelines but the governor's office did take to Twitter saying in part, "With the California department of public health, we are reviewing the new CDC guidance on masking."

"It would be nice if we don't have to wear a mask, but I will wait for direction from the Santa Barbara County Department of Health and follow their lead on that," said Rick Manson, owner of Chef Rick's Restaurant.

Businesses like Nautical Bean in San Luis Obispo have had to put up signs to remind customers that masks are still required until further guidance is given.

Other places like Trader Joe's are among the first national retailers to make the change. According to the COVID-19 page on their website, they are allowing people who are fully vaccinated to go mask-less.

But how do you know whether a person is actually vaccinated?

"In the next few days we are going to see additional guidance, from not only CDPH but from Cal OSHA, but the bottom line is we want to protect our community to the best ability that we can," Do-Reynoso said.

States like Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada have already adjusted their mask-wearing guidance.

In the meantime, health officials are encouraging the public to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The most powerful tool we have to protect our community’s health while moving beyond pandemic-related restrictions like masking is the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. Borenstein said. “Now is the time to get vaccinated and put this pandemic behind us.”