San Francisco Will Wait to Adopt New CDC Guidelines Recommending Vaccinated People Don’t Need Masks Indoors

A sign on a Muni bus advises that passengers are required to wear masks, during the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

On Thursday afternoon the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) released a statement that the city would not immediately enact new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines that recommend vaccinated adults do not have to wear masks outside or indoors.

The CDC’s statement that calls for no longer needing to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors is a large pivot as the agency has been historically cautious during the COVID pandemic. San Francisco, which has also been historically cautious in the last year, says it will take its cue from the state as new guidelines being to roll out.

“As we recently did with the new guidance on outdoor masking for fully vaccinated people, we must wait for the state to adopt the updated guidelines before making changes to the local health order that we consider safe,” the SFPDH said in a statement.

The press release is referencing the recent May 3rd mandate where the state announced new mask mandates that eased restrictions on vaccinated persons, which the city followed suit the same day. The statement dictated that vaccinated people did not have to wear masks outdoors, but non-vaccinated people would not have the same luxury. The press release also clarified that it still required masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

“We know people are eager to shed their masks and the quickest way we can arrive at a place where it is safe to do so is for every eligible person to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Appointments are widely available throughout the City,” the SFDPH said, urging residents to get vaccinated.

In fact, the city had just announced Thursday that all residents aged 12-15 are now eligible to get vaccinated. Mayor Breed also said that the city was currently working with the city’s school district to create vaccination opportunities after the Federal Drug Administration had approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for those aged 12-15.

“The CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in certain indoor settings is great news because it further underscores the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in driving down cases and preventing community spread,” the statement continued.

Currently, the city of San Francisco boasts an impressive 58% vaccination rate for those over 16 and a 75% vaccination rate for residents with at least one shot. The city was also the first in the Bay Area to achieve a yellow-tier rating from the state and can proudly claim that it has by far the lowest rate of deaths/cases (0.87%) out of any major metropolitan area in the U.S.

COVID vaccination appointments can be booked through the my turn website.

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