Santa Barbara County Public Health reinstated its mask mandate which went into effect at the end of last week.
Regardless of vaccination status, everyone two and older now needs to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. Health officials say the mask mandate is due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county.
Community members are upset by the preventable uptick in COVID-19 cases across the country.
"Just wear the mask. That's all you gotta do," said Rigo Negrete, a Thomson and Harvey Transportation Worker.
Rigo Negrete, a Thomson and Harvey transportation worker, sais he travels to many different places for work and sees it all when it comes to mask wearing. He wishes people would mask up when entering buildings in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable populations.
"It seems like maybe 75 % of the people don't wanna wear it anymore and they should. I wear it when I go inside the stores," said Negrete.
Longtime Santa Maria resident Kathleen Martinez has noticed more people wearing masks throughout Santa Barbara County recently.
"Last couple of days, I noticed going out and about here and there I noticed more and more people have them and some people are even saying 'Oh I forgot it' so you see people kind of trying to catch it," said Martinez.
Martinez said she has also seen people who are upset by the mandate and thinks the best thing to do is to stay positive and remind them that this is a temporary mandate, hopefully leading to a healthier future.
"I think together we are stronger and I think the more we try, the better things are going to be. So I think if we just step back and say okay this is an adjustment, but in the long run we'll be okay," said Martinez.
When it comes to outdoor mask-wearing, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department recommends wearing one if you are at an event or get together with large crowds.
Santa Barbara County Public Health officials say mask wearing and vaccinations will help to avoid shutdowns and closures like the ones we saw in 2020.