The long-awaited day is finally here.
San Franciscans and residents of Marin County were able to shed their masks at last Friday morning in various indoor settings, including yoga studios and gyms as case rates decline and vaccinations rates go up.
At a Fitness SF location in San Francisco’s financial district Friday morning, about 3 out of 4 members were working out without their masks on, KCBS Radio’s Matt Bigler reported.
"I’m pretty comfortable," said one member, Julian Castillo. "My whole office is all also completely vaccinated and we’re pretty distant, so I feel okay."
Other places where people can forgo their masks are college classes, churches and places of worship, and offices. Although offices are still up to the discretion of employers.
"It’s the reward of being highly vaccinated," said Dr. Warner Green, Director of the Gladstone Center for HIV Cure Research and Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology at UCSF on Friday’s Ask an Expert with KCBS Radio’s Dan Mitchinson.
Green said he still wears his mask if he’s indoors and the space is crowded or he’s unsure of the vaccination status of those near him.
For those who find themselves in small enclosed spaces every day, like elevators, they should still keep their masks on. "I don’t think there’s a magic time limit," said Green, but the delta variant hasn’t gone away and it is highly transmissible.
Looking ahead to the winter months and the new year, Green hopes that masking will continue to wane until it’s no longer needed at all, if vaccination rates for both COVID-19 and the flu continue at their current pace.
"But I think we’ve learned that masking is a good way to prevent viral infections," he said.