Oakland could soon reinstate indoor mask mandate in some buildings as COVID cases rise

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Oakland could soon reinstate indoor mask mandate in some buildings
EMBED <>More Videos

A push is now being made to bring back an indoor mask mandate in certain public buildings in Oakland as COVID numbers rise.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A push is now being made to bring back an indoor mask mandate in certain public buildings in Oakland.

It's something that has been debated in cities across the state and the country for that matter.

Just last week, Alameda County moved into the medium risk tier.

MORE: Masks will now be required at these places in Alameda Co. due to rising COVID levels

The small crowd seen outside of Oakland City Hall Tuesday, is echoing a growing movement as COVID numbers rise.

"To call on Libby Schaaf to bring back the mask requirement in Oakland public buildings," said Raia Small of Senior and Disability Action.

The group represents seniors and those with disabilities. They want the previous indoor mask mandate immediately reinstated. They sang out their thoughts about the current health situation with some holiday notes.

"It's COVID time in the city," the group sang.

MORE: Bay Area residents consider wearing face masks again as COVID cases surge

A number of Oakland City Councilmembers are in favor of the policy, one that would require people to mask indoors in some facilities, and one that will be taken up next week. Currently, the weekly hospital admission rate is rising and now nearly 11% in Alameda County.

"We think there should be a citywide policy for all city owned buildings, city run buildings," said Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb.

UCSF's Dr. Bob Wachter has seen a rise in cases and says he now recommends masking indoors.

"If I don't want to get COVID and there is this much COVID around, that to me says in crowded indoor spaces, I should wear a mask," said Dr. Wachter.

On ABC7 News reporter J.R. Stone's Facebook page, we asked viewers if you'd be in favor of an indoor mask mandate. Dozens of people didn't have a problem with it and are for the idea, but some are against it. Heidi Stevenson Miller saying, "No I'm vaccinated. I had COVID. It wasn't terrible. I had had way worse flu's before."

MORE: Health expert worries COVID misinformation is leading to mistrust, more illnesses

But the Senior and Disability Action group thinks otherwise.

"The public health system has failed us!" one member shouted.

"We have to react to the reality of the situation and not the reality of what we'd like it to be, we have to react to the reality of what it actually is," said Councilmember Kalb.

As to type of masks that should be worn.

"The only mask I wear is a KN95 which is very comfortable and works better to filter out any kind of particles, whether it's the flu virus or COVID virus. The surgical masks work better than nothing, not that well. The cloth masks are nearly worthless," said Dr. Wachter.

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live