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Monterey County passes indoor mask mandate

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in favor of implementing an indoor mask mandate on Tuesday's meeting. The ordinance will only go into effect after Oct. 29, if the CDC labels Monterey County as "high" or "substantial" risk of transmission.

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors originally voted against implementing an indoor mask mandate across the county in Sept. 8 meeting. However, the following week, the Board approved language for a countywide indoor face-covering ordinance. Despite the mixed feedback during public comments, the board voted in favor of the mandate this week.

KION visited one Monterey County city to ask people if they knew about the approved mask ordinance. Most were unaware of the decision. And when and how the newly approved mask ordinance will go into effect,  can be a little confusing.

“I don’t even think people, a lot of people, know why they’re supposed to wear a mask or where to wear a mask,” said Garry Aronson, Monterey County resident.

The mask ordinance will not go into effect right away. Instead, it will start on October 29th. That's only if the county COVID transmission rates reach CDC levels of high or substantial. At that time, it wouldn’t be required until seven days after.

“It’s nice to have things ready, so we can implement quickly," Jacob Garcia, Monterey County resident, and teacher. 

There are still exemptions, you don’t have to wear a mask indoors if you are in your own home, office, or vehicle. When you are actively eating, drinking, swimming, or having a medical or cosmetic service.

“I'm an esthetician. You can't really wear a mask to have treatments done. I could have my client wear a mask if we were maybe going to be waxing their eyebrows, but it's confusing at this point because we are supposed to be vaccinated, but now even the vaccinated need to wear a mask, Nicole Gonzales, Monterey County resident, and business owner.

The exemption also includes changed language suggested by the Monterey County Hospitality Association, for attending meetings or indoor gatherings with vaccinated or unvaccinated attendees, where proof of vaccination is required.

"We're actually very pleased that they basically adopted the language that we asked for almost verbatim," said Gary Cursio, Director of Government Affairs for MCHA.

As of Tuesday, the transmission rate in the county is at substantial, according to the CDC.

“Just like in the medical field and health, we should try to be more preventative than reactionary,” Garcia.

In the end, the County Supervisors didn't make big changes to the ordinance.

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Melody Waintal

Melody Waintal is the Digital Content Reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.



  1. In other words, the vote is meaningless. All for show. Just says they will put off making a decision for a month. LOL. These are the same people who censure the Sheriff and generally have little idea how to actually run a multi-billion dollar enterprise!

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