Contra Costa County gets rid of COVID-19 vaccine mandate for some indoor settings

The change is effective immediately. Many businesses say they're relieved they no longer have to be the "vaccine police."
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- On Friday, Contra Costa County took a step back towards normal.

The county's health department announced places like restaurants and bars would no longer have to require proof of vaccination from customers in order to be inside.

"None of these health orders were ever meant to be permanent. These were temporary measures, public health measures, to protect people's health," said Will Harper, a spokesperson for Contra Costa Health Services.

The order had been in place since last September, but the county says it feels comfortable allowing the new rules thanks to both declining case numbers and vaccination rates topping 80 percent.

"If you're a diner going to a restaurant in Contra Costa County, you can feel pretty safe that the person or the people sitting next to you are also vaccinated," Harper said.

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San Francisco will become the first Bay Area city to end indoor mask mandates for office workers, gym members and other stable cohorts of people.

The relaxation takes effect immediately and some restaurants say they're happy to see the loosening of some of the rules.

One of those is Fevzi Dinc, the owner of Lokanta, a restaurant in Walnut Creek.

"I feel like I have to check everyone and be the police, which I really don't like to do that but I still had to do it," Dinc said.

Others too, are happy to see the requirements go, and are comforted by the high level of vaccination in the community.

"It makes us feel more safer. It makes us work up to 100 percent of what we can do," said waitress Yazmin Martinez.

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But some diners still with mixed feelings - Relieved to be moving in the right direction, but remaining cautious.

"I want to be safe. I want to have a good time. I want to have all these people have a good time. But I don't want to get sick," said diner Michael Skolnik.

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