In outdoor settings, unvaccinated children and youth do not need to wear a mask, even if they cannot maintain physical distancing. However, per CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact (including high-risk contact sports) with other people who are not fully vaccinated.
In indoor youth settings (including K-12 Schools, childcare and other youth settings), everyone must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. This is especially important for children age 2 through 11 who are currently in eligible for vaccines and are therefore "unvaccinated." See the State of California's guidance on face coverings for more information.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is closely monitoring anticipated updates from the CDC regarding K-12 and other youth settings and will update recommendations at that time.
In the Bay Area, face coverings or masks must be worn over the mouth and nose in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. Examples of indoor public settings include offices, retail stores, restaurants, bars, theaters, family entertainment centers, conference centers, and State and local government offices serving the public.
The indoor mask requirement went into effect on August 3 and will remain in effect until Marin county can satisfy criteria tied to COVID-19 transmission, hospitalization rates and vaccination progress.
Masks are not required outdoors but are strongly recommended in crowded environments.
- California also requires that everyone wear masks in:
- Public transit
- Long-term care facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare, and other youth settings
Review the current health order on indoor mask use to learn more about where masks are still required or recommended, and a list of exemptions for indoor mask use.
Read Get the Most out of Masking to learn how a mask can best protect you.
On August 2, 2021, Marin County joined Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley in issuing Health Orders requiring masks indoors by all people -- vaccinated or unvaccinated -- out of an abundance of caution due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases. This Order requires all individuals to wear face coverings when indoors in workplaces and public settings, with limited exemptions, and recommends that businesses make face coverings available to individuals entering the business.
For information around:
- vaccine verification/negative testing
- capacity limitations
- physical distancing
- and exceptions to mega event guidance
Please visit the California Department of Public Health's website:
Yes, there are a limited number of exemptions to wearing a face covering.
The State Face Covering Guidance exempts the following individuals from wearing masks:
- Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask, including persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
- Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
Marin County's current face covering requirement does not apply to individuals in the following circumstances:
- When alone in a room.
- When actively eating or drinking.
- When swimming or showering.
- When receiving care or other service that requires removal of the face covering, including by way of example and without limitation, medical care requiring exposure of the nose or mouth, cosmetic services involving the face, and dental procedures.
- When participating in a religious activity at a religious gathering, to the extent that removal of face coverings is necessary for participation.
- When performing live in an indoor public space, if everyone present is fully vaccinated.
- When exempt from wearing face coverings under the State Face Covering Guidance or other applicable CDPH guidance.
Beginning October 15, 2021, Marin's face covering restrictions will provide an additional exemption in certain indoor settings with stable cohorts of fully vaccinated individuals. In indoor offices, gyms, fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, religious gatherings, college classes, and other organized gatherings of individuals who meet regularly, individuals are exempt from the face covering requirement under the following circumstances:
- There are no more than 100 individuals present; and
- The host, employer, or organizer has verified (see below) that all individuals present are fully vaccinated; and
- The host, employer, or organizer maintains a list of individuals present; and
- The host, employer, or organizer can control access to the setting, and the setting is not open to the general public.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Hosts, employers, or organizers must verify the vaccine status of individuals with one of the following (self-attestation of eligibility is not permitted):
- The original U.S. Department of Health and Human Services CDC vaccination card issued to the individual following administration of the COVID-19 Vaccine (CDC Card);
- The original WHO International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis issued to the individual following administration of the COVID-19 in a foreign country (WHO Yellow Card);
- A paper photograph or photocopy of the CDC Card or WHO Yellow Card;
- An electronic image of the CDC Card or WHO Yellow Card;
- A digital copy of the individual’s COVID-19 Vaccine record, obtained through the following portal: https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/; or
- Documentation from a licensed healthcare provider that the individual is Fully Vaccinated.
Employees or customers witnessing a local business abusing the exemptions listed on this page are encouraged to report the violation to the appropriate local authority.
Currently, Marin County requires all people to wear masks in indoor public settings, even if they are fully vaccinated. Masking is one of our most powerful tools against the COVID-19 pandemic and health officials want to avoid future surges in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. When all the following criteria have been met, the local masking order will be lifted:
- Marin County reaches the CDC’s moderate (yellow) COVID-19 transmission tier and remains there for at least three weeks; AND ·
- Hospitalizations decrease and the weekly average of COVID-19 patient census remains below 15 patients per day (total, countywide); AND
- One of the following conditions is met:
- 80% of the county’s total population is fully vaccinated
- Eight weeks have passed since a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by federal and state authorities for 5- to 11-year-olds
After the local masking order is lifted, unvaccinated residents will still need to wear masks in indoor public settings under the state’s face-covering order.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). This occurs through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. This is similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). People can also be contagious before they show symptoms.
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to:
- Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
- Clean and disinfect surfaces – particularly those that people frequently touch
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover according to current state and local face covering guidance
- Remember to cover your cough or sneeze, then throw away used tissues and wash your hands
- Isolate yourself if you have symptoms or were in close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
INDOORS: Yes, since they are currently ineligible for vaccines and are therefore "unvaccinated." This requirement is subject to forthcoming CDC guidance addressing schools and youth settings. "Youth settings" include K-12 schools and child care, and also cover day camps for youth, youth sports and other youth activities, including theater and music performances and band. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is closely monitoring anticipated updates from the CDC regarding K-12 and other youth settings and will update recommendations at that time.
OUTDOORS: In general, unvaccinated children and youth do not need to wear a mask outdoors, even if they cannot maintain physical distancing. However, per CDC recommendations, in areas of substantial to high transmission, people who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact (including high-risk contact sports) with other people who are not fully vaccinated.
Marin County issued a Public Health Order for the wearing of face coverings in workplaces and public settings on August 2, 2021. Additional information around masking and limited exemptions can be found within the Order.