Mixed emotions in Bay Area after 1st weekend without indoor mask mandate

PLEASANT HILL, Calif. (KGO) -- Indoor mask restrictions were dropped across the state of California last week and for many individuals, this weekend was the first time they opted to take off their mask indoors since the start of the pandemic.

As all of this is happening, doctors are still urging caution, especially among unvaccinated individuals.

"Today was the first day I went out without a mask," said Jay Reich who was out walking maskless in Pleasant Hill Sunday. Reich says he didn't plan on not wearing it, but upon forgetting it was well aware of California's indoor mask mandate that was dropped last week, realizing he no longer has to have a mask on. "It was nice going to stores, seeing people talking, and seeing people's faces and their expressions," says Reich.

"Do you like seeing faces again?" we asked Enofe Bautista, to which she replied, "Yes and I am trying to figure out how I look with makeup on!"

RELATED: California drops indoor mask mandate: What to know, what's different in the Bay Area
EMBED More News Videos

Most Bay Area counties will follow the state's lead and lift their indoor mask mandate in public settings on Feb. 16.



But while many in the East Bay City of Pleasant Hill had their mask off Sunday, both indoors and out, many had it on and tell us it's staying on.

"This thing will still kill you. I'm not willing to put myself in the position to get something that is going to give me some problems in five years or two years if I can avoid it," says Pacific Grove resident Joyce Steinecke.

UCSF's Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says that while the situation is improving, a few thousand additional COVID-related deaths are expected across the country over the course of the next month.

"I think that people are right in terms of reengaging with life successfully but there is still enough virus circulating around," says Dr. Chin-Hong who continued saying, "Many of these deaths, in fact a majority are in unvaccinated folks."

RELATED: Model estimates 73% of US now has immune response to omicron: Is that enough for return to normal?
EMBED More News Videos

The nation's top federal health official says the U.S. is moving closer to the point that COVID-19 is no longer a "constant crisis."



Angella Lara works as an ER Tech in a North Bay hospital and says she has seen a shift in those coming to the emergency room.

"It's more the younger generation coming in feeling sick, and not being able to breathe. We still have a lot of people who are not vaccinated so it's worse on them versus the ones who are vaccinated," says Lara.

Yes unvaccinated individuals are still being hit hard by COVID, as others move to a certain level of comfort.

"Right now I feel kind of immune to COVID having been triple-vaxxed and having COVID last month. Maybe a phony sense of security because they're not really sure exactly," says Reich.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:


Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.