Businesses become enforcers as mask mandate returns to Bay Area

Laura Anthony Image
ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Masks return to Bay Area businesses with little notice, mixed reaction
"No one really likes it," said Jared Prell, a customer at Forma Gym in Walnut Creek. "But I think it's a necessary thing to do to keep everyone safe and get those numbers back down."

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- For Bay Area businesses, what's old is new again, a clear reflection of what life was like two months ago.

At Walnut Creek's Forma Gym, owner Ralph Rajs says he got the word Monday with little notice.

"Yeah, yesterday morning probably around 11 a.m. we got the notification," said Rajs. "That puts us back into shift outside mode. Luckily we still have our tent outside. We still have our structure. So we just go to Plan B which is move many of our select pieces back out to the tent."

That is where members can still workout, without a mask.

RELATED: Indoor mask mandate issued in 7 Bay Area counties

Inside, Forma employees must go back into the mode of policing their members about face coverings.

"We already had one individual who said they weren't going to comply. But those are off-hands, those are one-offs," said Rajs.

"No one really likes it," said Forma member Jared Prell. "But I think it's a necessary thing to do to keep everyone safe and get those numbers back down."

While some members soldier on, others say they'll stay away, at least a bit longer.

VIDEO: Solano County health director defends decision to not implement indoor mask mandate

The Health Director of Solano County says he doesn't believe a mask mandate would have a big impact.

"Now with this Delta variant, I'm kind of leery about coming back," said gym member Lynn Koldewui, who came to check out the setup inside Forma. "I took a year and a half off. I was going to come back next month, but now I'm going to wait two or three more months."

At Labels Luxury Consignment in Walnut Creek, the mask requirements sign is back up on the front door, while inside shoppers and staff adapt to a step back.

"It felt really good to not wear our mask," said Labels employee Lisa Pelayo. "To have better conversations, be able to better interact, but we understand we all need to do our part."

In the meantime, Contra Costa County Public Health continues to try to reach the estimated 25% of eligible residents who remain unvaccinated. To that end, the county is holding mobile vaccine clinics in neighborhoods throughout the county.

More information and appointments are available at or by calling (833) 829-2626.

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