All persons, vaccinated or unvaccinated, should wear masks while indoors, Santa Barbara County Public Health officials recommended on Monday. The advisory was issued following increased cases of the “highly transmissible” Covid-19 Delta variant, stated a press release from Public Health. 

As of July 16, the county has reported 3.6 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents, with new cases reported each day. Beginning July, Covid-19 Delta variant cases are more than 50% of all identified cases in California, the county said. 

This recommendation applies to all persons, vaccinated or unvaccinated, as an “extra precautionary measure.” 

“Out of an abundance of caution, people are recommended to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated as an added layer of protection for unvaccinated residents,” the press release stated. “Businesses are urged to adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers.” 

“Workplaces must comply with Cal/OSHA requirements and fully vaccinated employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors if their employer has not confirmed the vaccination status of those around them.” 

Dr. Henning Ansorg, county public health officer, encouraged all persons within the county to wear their masks while in public. To be effective, all masks must cover your nose and mouth and fit tightly around your nose and face. 

“It remains critically important that we continue to practice safety guidelines such as staying home if feeling ill, wear a mask in public indoor settings, avoid crowded events, and practice good hand hygiene,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, county health officer. 

Santa Barbara Public Health director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso added that it “remains critical for protection against the infection, especially with circulating variants.” 

“We have a method of preventing severe illness and hospitalization from the Covid-19 Delta variant which we know is effective, and that is getting vaccinated,” she said. 

Find out how to get vaccinated at publichealthsbc.org/vaccine. Residents are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second vaccine shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after their single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine shot. 

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