The city of Berkeley announced that beginning Dec. 30, masks will be required in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status.
This announcement reverses a previous decision to ease mask restrictions for indoor spaces in Berkeley.
According to a press release, Berkeley’s local daily case rate has risen to 23.3 cases for every 100,000 residents, largely due to the omicron variant. As a result, the release stated that Berkeley is categorized as “High” on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Data Tracker.
“The Omicron variant requires us to use all the tools at hand to reduce the chance of transmission,” said Lisa B. Hernandez, the city’s public health officer, in the press release. “Masks are more important than ever to minimize the spread of COVID to our most medically vulnerable community members.”
Vaccinations and boosters “greatly reduce” COVID-19 hospitalizations and mortality, according to the press release.
The city urged residents to get vaccinated and boosted and stay home if feeling symptomatic.
“Omicron may be more transmissible, but we have the tools to prevent infection,” said Nicholas Moss, Alameda County health officer, in the press release. “Because even a mild infection in a vaccinated person may be passed on to someone who could become hospitalized, we must take every precaution this winter.”