SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- You'll want to keep your masks close. A group of county health officers from all across the Bay Area is now recommending residents go back to masking indoors, regardless of vaccine status.
The move comes as officials monitor a spike in COVID-19 cases across the board. The change applies to almost the entire Bay Area- seven counties total. Only Solano and Napa counties didn't involve themselves in Friday's announcement.
In Downtown San Jose, signs posted on storefronts read, "It's nice to see you smile again." A show of optimism during the ongoing pandemic.
However, the recommendations on indoor masking will once again put those pearly-whites behind masks.
"As soon as we see signals that things are worsening, it's important to act quickly if we've got the evidence to do so," Santa Clara County Assistant Public Health Officer, Dr. Sarah Rudman said.
She added, despite the county's excellent vaccination rates, Santa Clara County is still seeing a rise in cases. Adding, officials believe much of that may be due to the more transmissible Delta variant.
Across Downtown, outside Haberdasher SJ, signs already reflect the county's new indoor masking recommendation.
"Until it's absolutely mandated, we are not going to mandate mask wearing inside," owner Cache Bouren told ABC7 News. "But we will suggest it."
Bouren also owns Cash Only in Downtown San Jose.
Bouren said he's taking a different approach to added safety. Since reopening in mid-June, Bouren has required visitors to the below-ground bar to show proof of vaccination.
He admitted the policy isn't for everyone.
"Our regulars can enjoy that feeling of extra security. Our staff is a lot more comfortable with it," he shared. "But at the door, we've had some confrontations with folks that don't agree with the policy for whatever reasons they have... and want to let us know."
Haberdasher's Yelp page has taken a hit, but Bouren feels his request offers some needed relief, especially when vaccination statuses would otherwise be uncertain.
"A lot of people indoors unmasked still kind of freaks me out," Fremont resident Tiffany Ta said.
She isn't sold. Adding she's remained masked and plans to keep it that way until there's a definitive end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I just think it makes me feel safer. And I also feel like, if it can protect somebody else or make somebody else feel safer, why not just do it," Ta added.
Dr. Rudman told reporters Friday, cases in the county have tripled in the last three weeks- reasons why San Jose resident Tiffany Vu says she anticipated the return of masking indoors.
"I haven't really switched my practices in anyway," Vu told ABC7 News. "I've been wearing my mask anytime I leave the house."
"It's not really a big surprise to me that we have to mask up again," she added.
So far, the move for everyone to mask indoors is a recommendation, not a requirement.
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