Mask mandate in Alameda County now in effect amid COVID surge; some residents unaware

It's the only county in the Bay Area to now require masks in public places like stores and gyms.

Friday, June 3, 2022
Mask mandate in Alameda County now in effect
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A new mask mandate went into effect in Alameda County Friday, making it the only county in the Bay Area to now require masks in indoor public places.

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- A new mask mandate went into effect in Alameda County Friday morning amid a rise in COVID cases, making it the only county in the Bay Area to now require masks in public places like stores and gyms.

But one wouldn't know it after walking through a grocery store in Pleasanton Friday morning.

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"I don't think people know. I had no idea. None of my friends have said anything. I don't think my family knows. People still seem not to be masked inside stores," said high school senior (and almost graduate) Arnav Khandelwal after shopping at the store, saying hardly anyone inside had one on.

The store also did not post signs saying masks would be required.

His friend was also surprised to hear about the mandate. She did have a mask on.

"I actually did not know but I have been wearing my mask because we had our (high school) ball last weekend and we have had so many new positive cases in our school and I don't want to get COVID before we graduate," said Isabel Garcia.

That's why the county health officer put the mandate in place, saying the numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations are the rise.

Some question whether people have the possibility of mask mandates on their radar anymore.

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"I feel like a lot of people think COVID is over, so I don't know how many people want to follow it or would follow it," said Khandelwal.

A gym in Livermore did have a sign up saying masks are required, but compliance appeared to be optional.

"I might've seen two people in there (with masks on) and I have been there a couple hours," said gym member Christian Calderon. Gym members without masks on were also visible in the window.

Gym member Bryan Fagundes said he does not like working out with a mask on, but says he is not one to break the rules.

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"I'll comply but if it were up to me, we are long past the point to where (we need masks). COVID is out there, we are stuck with it forever. Why continue to mask up?"

The mandate has exceptions. It does not apply to schools or performers on stage or in the city of Berkeley, which is in Alameda County but has its own health department.

The health officer has not said how long the mandate will be in place.

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