Indoor Face Mask Requirement Extended to January

Source: Santa Barbara County Public Health Department

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has extended the Health Officer Order which requires the use of masks in indoor public settings.  This order requires all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions. This Order 2021-10.7 is effective at    5 p.m., on December 3, 2021 and continuing until 5 p.m., on January 2, 2022 or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended.

As of December 1, 2021, the COVID-19 community transmission level is categorized as “Substantial” in California and Santa Barbara County by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). As of November 26, 2021, the County has a case rate of 7.0 per 100,000 and a test positivity of 4.0%. The CDC continues to recommend fully vaccinated individuals wear a face covering in public indoor settings in areas with Substantial or High community transmission rates.

An update to the previous framework has been outlined by local health officials to consider rescinding the indoor mask mandate. The county case rate should be 7.0 cases per 100,000 people or lower for three consecutive weeks. In addition to this, hospitalizations should be low and stable for at least 3 days. Local health officials will consider these metrics, along with any other relevant factors, including the spread of new variants.

“As we head into the winter season once again, we are in a very different place than we were last year,” shared Dr. Henning Ansorg, County Health Officer. “We have vaccines available for everyone 5+ years of age and boosters for those who were vaccinated earlier this year.  We know very well that wearing a face covering while indoors is an effective strategy to reduce transmission in the community. We have yet to see the full role the Omicron variant will play in this pandemic, but we have well established surveillance and prevention strategies in place.”

Additionally, this Health Officer Order aligns with State guidance for students in grades K-12 actively participating in school-based extracurricular activities, such as sports and band. Students may participate in indoor activities without a face covering, if regular testing is conducted. Details are outlined in the full Health Officer Order.

This Health Officer Order is consistent with the guidance from the CDC as well as the California Department of Public Health, which recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks while in indoor public settings.  The full Health Officer Order can be read here:

Visit to learn where you can find a vaccination site near you or call 2-1-1.


Written by Anonymous

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  1. The mandate may be extended,, compliance is rapidly declining. I think the mask mandates will ultimately be de-facto repealed once the compliance rate falls sufficiently. The aclu published a great paper about taking a law enforcement approach to public health matters, link below. The aclu cautioned that coercive or brute force approaches to a pandemic are generally counterproductive. I think we are starting to see that here in california.

  2. They are also not consistent. I just got back from San Diego. The COVID rates are roughly the same as here but there is no indoor mandate there. About 50/50 mask wearing inside stores from what I could tell. I happily put my mask back in my pocket and it seemed normal. While I understand that masks help, I also don’t think we’re in the same place as last year. We’re vaccinated and we’ve proven our healthcare system is able to absorb whatever COVID throws at us. It’s time to move on.

  3. I think people are finally realizing that the mask and restrictions have only a nominal impact on the spread (if that) and that seasonality/geography is the main driver, particularly this fall as ‘no mandate’ Florida saw case rates drop like a rock as our rates spiked (just like last year). Not to mention all the politicians imposing mask mandates being caught constantly without them. Video of groups of politicians hugging and talking without masks, only to see everyone put them on for the ‘photo-op’. The president walking by himself with his mask on only to them approach people and take it off to talk to them. People are realizing the mask was just a symbol, a show, and the show is ending.

  4. VOICE – “I think people are finally realizing that the mask and restrictions have only a nominal impact on the spread ” – well well well…. nice to see you finally come around and finally acknowledge that they have at least some impact.

  5. “The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is a private, nonpartisan organization that facilitates cutting-edge investigation and analysis of major economic issues.” If nonpartisan is now right-wing it shows you just how far left you’ve gone. But most people don’t use ‘right-wing’ in the typical sense, now it’s just used to define anything you don’t agree with.

  6. Voice – When 80-100,000 people sit together without masks in an outdoor stadium and there are few, if any reported cases by anyone attending, leads me to believe there is little value in the masks. As for the president, I’m not sure he knows why he’s taking his mask off or putting it on.

  7. Bosco; I saw the same thing traveling to Sacramento and back last week. People seem to be thinking the mask thing wasn’t all that effective and are ditching them unless asked to wear them, which most businesses are not doing. After 25 years in industrial hygiene, I know the simple cloth or paper masks are not effective against viruses and many other hazards, like solvents, but went along with it as a social expectation. I think the mask mandate will die a natural death as people figure that out.

  8. At this point in the pandemic, it’s idiotic for anyone to think masking, even with cloth masks, does not help prevent transmission. Sure, multiple layers incorporating polyester or other electrostatic material is better, but any mask helps.

  9. A-1638654892
    I’ve never heard the expression “squibs your turtle” before, but apparently you never passed your Comprehension exams in high school.
    It should have been apparent, from my posting, that I am VERY MUCH IN FAVOR OF MANDATES, Especially vaccine mandates.
    That’s the only way we can a clearly-lit EXIT sign from this COVID epidemic.
    So why isn’t SB County following LA, SF, and NYC in mandating proof of vaccines entry into businesses?
    That’s my question.
    Can we end this CRAP once and for all, please?

  10. LC – Perhaps you should focus your superior comprehension on the fact that the 1:54 comment was in response to Chip’s nonsense at 10:58. The string of numbers you quoted changes, so it’s not a good way to reference other comments, in case you never noticed.

  11. LC @5:27 Can you or anyone provide any factual proof that mandates will make Covid “EXIT”? Shoot, how about if every single person gets vaccinated? Anyone? Yeah… didn’t think so. I’m all for people getting vaccinated if they choose to. I think it’s the smart thing to do, but it’s not making Covid go away.

  12. Be sure to wear a mask or respirator that is appropriate for what you are doing! The cloth masks and surgical style blue masks that people wear to comply with covid related regulations will not protect you from hazardous dust, particulate, or fumes. If you are working with respiratory hazards, make sure that you use a respirator that is rated to provide an appropriate level of protection. Do not let the covid regulations lull you into a false sense of security about what a “mask” is capable of protecting you from, it is not a suitable substitute for an appropriate respirator.

  13. Coercive approaches are generally less effective than voluntary approaches. For example, california has been implementing coercive mandates to try to force people to get vaccinated while Florida has actually taken strong measures to prevent the implementation of vaccine mandates and vaccine passports and encourages people to get vaccinated on a voluntary and consensual basis instead. The result, according the the Johns Hopkins website both California and Florida have achieved approximately the same rate of vaccination. As the old saying goes, you can catch a lot more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. This analysis published by the ACLU, link below, makes a compelling case that coercive vaccination policies are unethical, ineffective, and counterproductive.

  14. What’s really “bad” is VOR’s use of that non-peer reviewed working paper to bolster his position that mask mandate policies are ineffective. It does not. Note this particular paper looks only at correlation but not causation and the authors point out the difficulties in doing the latter. So if there were external factors that affected the number of deaths while a mask mandate was in place (e.g. political obstacles, media effects, lack of health care or medical resources, where you are on the infection rate curve, etc.) they didn’t consider them. The average Edhat reader probably doesn’t care about nuances like this but they matter. I think the big takeaway is you really have to be careful when someone links to papers like these because their interpretation may be wrong (intentionally or not) and can easily be cherry-picked in an out-of-context manner.

  15. 3:52 – Really?? Are you that blind to facts? Anyone, at this point, who thinks masking does not provide a clear benefit, has not been paying attention or is willfully ignorant.
    As the one making a ridiculous claim, it’s up to you to provide peer-reviewed evidence. You won’t find any, of course.

  16. People who live in counties that voted heavily for then-President Donald Trump are more likely to die of Covid-19 than people who live in counties that voted heavily for President Joe Biden, according to a new report.
    A review of Covid-19 data by NPR found that people “living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.7 times the death rates of those that went for Biden”

  17. Can’t find any data that doctors are not treating unvaccinated patients. I think this would be a reasonable approach to the situation as the unvaxxed that get sick with covid are making it impossible for the vaxxed to get required medical care and putting an impossible burden on ICU staff.

  18. also brute force to wear a mask? cmon dude lol….that’s a HUGE stretch. the only one exhibiting brute force are the idiots that go into a business and throw baby tantrums and trash the place when they are simply asked to wear a face covering like the rest of us.

  19. VOR kinda like you republicants? funny how all of you think you know better than a professional in the infectious disease field. strange since most of yall are dumb as doorknobs and prove it by challenging medical professionals. not just one, but all of them. you keep burying your head in the sand and plugging your ears while the intelligent portion of humantity continuously attemps to reason with you

  20. There was a perceptible shift in tone when Covid started really impacting the south and Midwest. The game show host and his sycophants started pumping the brakes on the crazy, even getting booed while telling rallies to get vaccinated. Too late, too little.

  21. GENERALTREE – I saw that study as well. It’s sad to see people die needlessly, but then again, these are the same people who are fighting (physically sometimes) so they don’t need to wear a mask or get vaxxed. Darwin.

  22. I’m fully vaxxed and boosted as of this week, and always felt masks were important until we could get things in a better direction but, given almost 70% of people are vaxxed here, and given some of these comments and this ongoing panic/fear, it makes me wonder now if these vaccines even work. If they did we wouldn’t need masking b/c even if you get it and are vaxxed you should only get a mild case and omicron is mild already as it is. Makes me wonder now.

  23. ANDREA SMITH – Of course the vax works, it’s been proven to be effective and decreasing the risk of infection and severity of symptoms. Thing is, some people with diseases or that are immunocompromised can still die from it, even if vaxxed, although it’s a lower risk. So, to help everyone out, not just ourselves (’tis the season anyway), we wear masks in close spaces to help lower the risk even more. If me wearing a lightweight piece of fabric over my mouth in a grocery store will even help save 1 person’s life, it’s worth it to me.

  24. VOICE – I mean in general, you people are all about bootstraps, personal responsibility and profits (capitalism), yet when it comes to covid, you cry when you have to face the consequences of your own choices and cry even more when drug companies make any money of a life saving vaccine.

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