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

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- While seven Bay Area counties do have mask mandates going into place Tuesday, August 3, a few do not.

Napa, Lake and Solano counties recommend wearing masks indoors but aren't requiring them.

"Just wear a mask," said one store manager.

"I don't think we still need to wear a mask," said a store patron.

FULL INTERVIEW: Solano Co. health director defends not implementing mask mandate
EMBED More News Videos

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



The back and forth has started between those who believe indoor masking should be mandated for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals and those who are against it.

At the Natural Grocery Company in El Cerrito, mask requirement signs will be put out before the store opens on Tuesday.

"Yes we have to go back to the mask-wearing but as I said before hopefully this time around we'll have a better outcome," said Natural Grocery Company store manager Claudia Barajas.

RELATED: Bay Area health officials issue new indoor mask mandate

But that is Contra Costa County where there will be a mandate. In Solano County, there is no mandate, just a recommendation.

"The data doesn't support the need for such a mandate," said Solano County Health Director Dr. Bela Matyas. "This disease in our county is very clearly spreading during and through social events with people who are going to parties, barbecues, picnics, and campouts." Dr. Matyas described some of the transmission events to be "sharing of food, sharing of cigarettes, playing beer pong, activities that are clearly going to transmit the virus very effectively and then there are larger gatherings where people are essentially on top of each other."

Dr. Matyas says indoor public spaces are not where they have seen COVID-19 transmission, therefore he doesn't believe an indoor mask mandate would help.

"I'll use a metaphor, you know we're filling up a tank with gas to fix a flat tire. It's not going to fix the flat tire."

But many we saw in Solano County were wearing masks.

"I'm not vaccinated so I'm going to keep my mask on," said Ranyia Colbert.

RELATED: These 5 Bay Area cities may be 'most at risk' for new COVID-19 infections, data shows

Others made it known why they aren't into the idea and in favor of Solano County decision not to implement a mandate.

"We were already vaccinated and I can't really breathe when I wear a mask so for me it's annoying to wear," said Oriza Evangelista.

Dr. Matyas said Solano County would have a lot fewer COVID-19 cases if people wore a mask to parties and didn't go to a party if they had any signs of being sick.

CDC COVID-19 Transmission Categories by California County


Map not displaying correctly? Click here to open in a new window.

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 © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.