Indoor mask rules changing today for several Bay Area counties

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Three Bay Area counties will have new rules for wearing masks indoors. Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda County are all easing their mandates to various degrees.

"Want to know what my Halloween costume is? I'm tomorrow, because that mask mandate is ending," said Michael Freed.

Freed likely waited months to say that line. He owns Bogies 2 restaurant in downtown San Rafael. Starting Monday, vaccinated customers and staff no longer have mask up.

"I'm excited about it ending, still apprehensive more for customers. They don't want to sit inside, some are still wanting to go outside," said Freed.

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Marin County is the first in the Bay Area to lift its mask mandate for most indoor public spaces -- including Jeff Brusati's longtime sporting goods store.

"We're moving forward but we're going to watch it real close and it they ask us to start wearing masks again, we will wear masks again," Brusati said.

Marin County health officials hope things don't go backwards. Numbers have been now achieved for advancing into the moderate category of spread for the virus.

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"Vaccination rates are above 80% for all residents, hospital rates have declined. In fact, today, there are only two people with COVID-19 in the hospital, none in the ICU... a four-month low," said Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis.

Ernest Owusu is still uncomfortable about ditching his mask.

"I'm not ready, so I'll still be wearing a mask. I feel uncomfortable doing it, not going to do it for a while," Owusu said.

In the East Bay, Contra Costa and Alameda Counties will ease mask requirements Monday for some indoor settings like gyms, as long as you're vaccinated.

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"I'd rather not wear a mask when I work out. I just got my booster, so I'm pretty excited about it," said Christine Cabras from El Sobrante.

"I think it's a little too early to be changing the rules because of flu season kicking in. Even it it's not about preventing COVID, I think it's nice not being exposed to other people's germs," said Georgie Ziff from San Pablo.

Back in Marin, masks will still be needed in settings like schools and hospitals. Private business owners may decide to keep mask policies in place.

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