San Francisco locals react to mask mandates ending: 'We can't be masked up forever'
Bay Area residents excited for indoor mask mandate to end
SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco residents told Fox News they're excited local mask mandates are ending this week.
Health officials last week announced that California would end its indoor mask mandate for vaccinated people Feb. 15, though face coverings would still be required in schools. Gov. Gavin Newsom implemented an indoor mask mandate in mid-December amid the omicron surge and extended it in January.
"I'm for no mask," one San Francisco resident, Nichole, told Fox News. "I think no matter what, everybody is going to encounter the virus."
"We have to start somewhere," she continued. "We can't be masked up forever."
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Another local, Cierra, said: "This is exciting. We need this. This is going to just make everybody see each other smiles."
Some, however, still supported mask mandates, despite COVID-19 cases falling.
"I know some people aren't comfortable with it, but I think we need to look out after each other," one man, Paul, told Fox News. "They could suck it up a little bit."
"I've heard studies recently where they stopped the mandates in schools and like about 10 times as many kids got the virus," he continued.
California has seen a 65% drop in case rates since the omicron surge's peak, according to state data.
"We all pile in the grocery stores, airplanes," Nichole told Fox News. "It makes no sense to me."
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Cierra was excited to learn that the mandates were ending but said adjusting will present other challenges.
"Being this close to you right now without a mask myself, I'm like, ‘This is weird,’" she told Fox News. "This is anxiety-filled. We have to relearn how to be normal."
Steve, a lifelong San Franciscan, was fed up with the mandates, calling them hypocritical and politically motivated.
"Even in the height of the pandemic, they're going up to the real fancy place French Laundry," Steve said, referring to Newsom being photographed maskless at a dinner party last summer. "Fifteen-course meal with a bunch of friends, but it's OK for him to do it. But for us, we couldn't do it."
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"I think it's all wrong," he continued.
Milo, who works in the restaurant industry, said: "Before and after the shift, none of our coworkers are wearing masks. It's only when the lights go on and we're ready to do a dinner service."
Caio said: "It's time. We need to care about everyone. But if there are resources for you to be protected and you don't want to get it, you cannot be the world's problem anymore."