Santa Barbara County's indoor mask mandate will be lifted next week to align with the latest state masking rules.
Starting Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County will no longer be required to wear a mask in most indoor public spaces.
Unvaccinated people will still be required to wear a mask in indoor public settings. And masking will be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in certain settings including public transit, indoors in K-12 schools, childcares, shelters, healthcare settings, correctional facilities, and other care facilities.
"Our community has endured through 23 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and we have learned how best to protect ourselves," said Van Do-Reynoso, County Public Health Director. "Vaccination, including receiving a booster, and testing will continue to diminish the spread of this virus, especially as we continue to move past the surge caused by the Omicron variant."
Santa Barbara County Public Health officials recommend that people still consider masking in crowded areas when the vaccination status of others is unknown.
"We are calling upon our community to act in the best interest of themselves and their neighbors," said Dr. Henning Ansorg, County Health Officer. "We are now on the downslope of the recent surge as evidenced by our lowering case rate and test positivity along with stable hospitalizations. We have considered how the dominant variant circulates and what effects it has, and have determined we are in a place to be able to lift the universal indoor masking requirement."
San Luis Obispo County's indoor mask mandate will also be lifted on February 16.