California · COVID-19

As Newsom’s new mask mandate arrives, one region scores exemption: the Bay Area.

Wednesday marked the return of a statewide universal mask mandate for Californians, unless you’re working in the office or a gym in select Bay Area counties.

The same day the statewide mask mandate, reintroduced by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday, was set to take effect, public health officials announced that select Bay Area counties would be exempted from the rules due to local ordinances.

Among the list? San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Marin counties.

Each has had its own local mask mandate in place throughout the delta variant surge and now tilting into omicron, but the state exemption allows them to keep key carveouts – such as the removal of masks in the workplace or gyms – to stay in place, too.

Newsom’s new mandate is set to remain in full force and effect through Jan. 15.

Reid Stone is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.