Indoor face mask requirement extended through January


The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has extended the order for health workers to require the use of masks in indoor public places. This ordinance obliges all people, regardless of their immunization status, to wear face coverings when they are indoors in public places, with a few exceptions. This decree 2021-10.7 comes into force at 5 p.m. on December 3, 2021 and continues until 5 p.m. on January 2, 2022 or until it is extended, repealed, replaced or modified.

As of December 1, 2021, the level of community transmission of COVID-19 is classified as “substantial” in California and Santa Barbara County by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). As of November 26, 2021, the county had a case rate of 7.0 per 100,000 and a test positivity of 4.0%. The CDC continues to recommend that fully immunized people wear a face covering in indoor public places in areas where community transmission rates are high or high.

An update to the previous framework has been described by local health officials to consider revoking the mandate for indoor masks. The case rate in the county is expected to be 7.0 cases per 100,000 people or less for three consecutive weeks. In addition, hospitalizations should be low and stable for at least 3 days. Local health officials will take these measures into account, along with any other relevant factors, including the spread of new variants.

“As we head into the winter season again, we are in a very different place from last year,” said Dr Henning Ansorg, county health officer. “We have vaccines available for every 5 years and up and boosters for those who were vaccinated earlier this year. We know very well that wearing a face covering 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 worker ordinance aligns with state guidelines for K-12 students actively participating in school-based extracurricular activities, such as sports and group. Students can participate in indoor activities without face covering, if regular testing is done. Details are described in the full order from the medical officer of health.

This order from the health official is in line with CDC and California Department of Public Health guidelines, which recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks when in indoor public places. The full Health Officer Order can be viewed here:

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


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