Marin County residents reflect on lifting of mask mandate


Corina Karr

Chuck, a butcher at the Redhill Safeway, prepares meat, maskless and indoors.

Ever since Aug. 2, when Marin County’s mask mandate fell back into place, citizens have been required to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That is until Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis announced on Oct. 29 that Marin would be the first in the Bay Area to lift its mask mandate, beginning Nov. 1. Although masks are no longer required for those who are vaccinated when they are inside, the majority of indoor businesses, schools, hospitals, and state government buildings will be excluded from the mandate lift.  

Marin County surpasses the three basic Bay Area county requirements to lift mask mandates: The county’s vaccination rate is above 80 percent, hospitalizations have declined and remained low, and Marin maintained 21 consecutive days of moderate level data on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Transmission Tracker.

The CDC still urges vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals to continue wearing masks, even though it is not mandatory. Although children ages 5-11 have recently been approved to get the Pfizer vaccine, they still will not be fully vaccinated for weeks. YMCA leader Nana Sosa works closely with children and is concerned for their health.

“I’m pretty comfortable with the mask mandate being lifted but it depends on the age group, I would like the unvaccinated kids to still wear masks,” Sosa said. 

Others, like AWHS junior Eve Tatum, are still cautious. Eve fears that the mandate lift may be reversed just as it was last summer. 

“I’m a little nervous because I just don’t trust everyone to be responsible with it. I could see this being a repeat of what happened in August, but I’m still excited that we may not need the masks,” Eve said.

As of Nov. 2, children ages 5-11 are approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Now, it is up to the parents’ discretion on whether their children will receive the vaccine; some parents are skeptical, while others are eager to vaccinate their children. AWHS Spanish teacher and father of two young children, Jose Anchorqoqui, reflects on his five year old son’s upcoming vaccine opportunity.

“I’m a bit fearful because as a parent, I don’t want my kid to have bad side effects [to the vaccine], but I’m also excited to protect him from the virus,” Anchorqoqui said.

Considering California’s state-wide mandate enforcing schools to still require masks, students will continue to wear masks indoors, but nowhere else on campus. Some students, like AWHS sophomore Adria Berry, are confused as to how masks will help on campus if individuals are still exposed to COVID-19 in other public spaces. 

“I don’t see the point of [vaccinated] people wearing masks at school but nowhere else. What’s the difference?” Adria said.

Aside from concerns, Adria and other Marin County citizens are thrilled to lose the “uncomfortable” masks. 

“I’m excited to not have to wear uncomfortable masks everywhere,” Adria said.

With the lifting of the mask mandate, Marin County residents hope that they are on the path to normalcy.