San Diego County indoor mask requirement ends for fully vaccinated

grocery store shopper face mask
Posted at 7:13 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-19 14:26:21-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to wear a face mask in many indoor settings in San Diego County.

The lifting of the county’s indoor mask mandate aligns with California’s decision to drop the statewide indoor mask requirement as of Feb. 16.

Some counties, such as Los Angeles, will continue to enforce their own indoor mask requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency said those who are unvaccinated will need to wear a mask in indoor public settings such as retail stores, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices.

The county said masks will still be required in the following settings for BOTH vaccinated and unvaccinated people:

  • On public transit, such as buses, trains, airplanes, ferries, taxis and ride services, and in the areas that serve those, such as airports, transit stations, etc.
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings
  • Healthcare settings, including long-term care facilities
  • Detention facilities
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers

Even with the end of the indoor mask requirement, health officials still recommend people wear a face covering in indoor public settings, regardless of their vaccination status.

According to the state’s Department of Public Health, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson immunization.

The county said the following are not required to wear masks:

  • People younger than two years old
  • People with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask
  • People who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
  • People for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines

It is a sight that has not been seen for months at the 24-Hour Fitness in Carmel Mountain Ranch.

People working out are maskless. California's lifting of the mask mandate is something many early birds were excited about when they arrived at the gym.

“Throughout the whole thing it was about following all the rules and do things without the politics," said patron Joey Shelly.

"And do things and care about people. I think that’s what it’s about. It’s nice to finally follow the rules and not wear it.”

However, not everyone is on board with ditching the mask during workouts. Troy Kimbros-Sosa says it has become part of the routine, even though he is vaccinated he is keeping the mask on and plans to keep it that way.

"You know I take a couple of drinks, take it down for a second, and I put it right back on," said Kimbros-Sosa. " I just want to stay safe.”

Something health experts want to remind everyone about, as restrictions loosen up, they hope people will not lose sight of the pandemic that is still happening.

“The good thing is that hospitalizations and ICUs stays are coming down," said Dr. Abisola Olulade.

"But, they are coming down slowly. It’s important to remember COVID isn’t gone it's definitely still here. So we still have to take measures to protect ourselves."