Even if you don’t check out a book, it’s a great place to just sit and read a magazine or get on the internet!
Here’s from the Benicia library website about pandemic hours and masks: “The Benicia Public Library has restored regular service hours, and we are excited to welcome you back inside our building. Whether you want to use a computer or plug into our free Wi-Fi, visit an exhibit, borrow materials or just browse our bookcases, we are here for you. Please bring your mask and library card. If you do not have one, they are free.”
The mask requirement applies whether you are vaccinated or not.
Seems vaccinated staff and visitors are granted asylum from masking at the John F. Kennedy and Springstowne libraries in Vallejo.
Both facilities are exempt from the Vallejo City Council’s Sept. 7 “mask mandate” for all public buildings, vaccinated or not, because they are “subject to the county and library policies, procedures, rules and regulations that govern all library branches,” according to Suzanne Olawski, director of Library Services in Fairfield.
In Solano County, only Vallejo and Benicia have mask mandates in place.
Vallejo Councilmember Katy Miessner and Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan said they received complaints from citizens visiting the local libraries after noticing some staff members going maskless.
Hannigan said that she “received an email from a resident citing librarians were not wearing masks, some were. When asked why they weren’t masked a librarian stated that the county doesn’t have a mask mandate and since they were in a county facility they believe they are exempt from the Vallejo mask mandate.”
Hannigan said she forwarded the email to Olawski.
“The City (Vallejo) owns the buildings and contracts with the County for library services,” Olawski said late Friday. “Per the operating agreement, the libraries operate as branches of the Solano County Library.”
A sign posted at the JFK Library entry effective June 15 states that “by entering this facility without a face covering you are self-attesting that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.” For individuals who are unvaccinated, there is a list of reasons they could still be exempt from masking.
Information counter staffers at both Vallejo libraries sit behind framed Plexiglas shields. At JFK, most staffers still wore masks. Most of the staffers at Springstowne didn’t.
“If an employee is fully vaccinated, it is optional for them to wear a mask at work,” Olawski said. “However, any staff member not vaccinated is required to wear a mask at work. Face coverings are available to any employee that requests one, regardless of their vaccination status.”
Olawski added that “the county’s practice at this time is masks are not required for people over the age of 12 if they are vaccinated.”
Anyone over the age of 12 not wearing a mask in the library “is self-attesting to being vaccinated,” Olawski continued. “however, there are individuals who may be exempt from wearing a face covering because of medical or physical impairment issues.”
Not good enough, Miessner said, already “deeply disappointed that Solano County Public Health decided the County didn’t need an indoor mask mandate, given the delta variant causing increases to Vallejo’s infection rates and hospitalizations. So I was furious when I heard the county decided they can disregard Vallejo’s mask mandate in Vallejo libraries.”
The library, continued Miessner, “is a place where children tend to gather and children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated depend on adults who are, and who wear masks. Obviously, Vallejo children can’t depend on Solano County Public Health. But I was grateful that Vallejo had the authority to act on our own.”
If the policy was up to Hannigan, “all county employees working inside buildings in any city with a mask mandate should be masked,” adding that President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate for public agencies and vaccine recommendation for private employers “is the right direction.”
“Implementing vaccine mandates for employees and contractors is the only way we will get closer to ending this pandemic and reduce the opportunity for new variants,” Hannigan said.
Vallejo Councilmember Rozzana Verder-Aliga said she “agrees that public and private buildings, offices and businesses should follow the mask mandate passed by the Vallejo City Council last week. This mask mandate is for the health and safety of our residents and everyone.”
Verder-Aliga said masks are mandated where she works at the Solano County Behavior Health Clinics in Vallejo and Fairfield and also mandated at the county courthouse in Fairfield where she served on jury duty.
The Vallejo City Council said it will re-visit the mask mandate in mid-October.
Because Benicia’s public library is not part of the county library system, masks are required for everyone, Steve Young said Friday. Any changes, the mayor added, will be based on COVID case count.
The county currently “does not mandate masks for vaccinated people in indoor public spaces, except for those venues where the state specifically requires, such as public transportation. schools, and healthcare facilities,” Solano Public Health Director Bela Matyas said Friday.
Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown sent a letter dated Aug. 27 to Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell and the Vallejo City Council encouraging the city re-instate a mask mandate — which it did — and noting that she doesn’t have enough votes on the board of supervisors to implement a (county-wide) mandate.
“I am in full support of a mask mandate in Solano County,” wrote Brown, emphasizing that “the science supports requiring face coverings” and that “the unvaccinated are filling our hospitals at alarming rates. Vaccinations are crucial to beating the virus, but so are mask mandates.”
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