ABC7 News: Benicia could go against Solano County and implement indoor mask mandate for all

East Bay city could go against Solano County and implement indoor mask mandate for all

ABC7 Bay Area News, By J.R. Stone, August 22, 2021

BENICIA, Calif. (KGO) — This week the City of Benicia, which is in Solano County, could go against county recommendations and implement an indoor mask mandate.

It’s something that all other Bay Area counties have already done but Solano County has not and the move would be a rare one, with the city going against their county recommendations.

“I think the feeling on the City Council is, despite Solano County’s unwillingness to move in this direction, that we have an obligation to try to further protect health and safety,” says Benicia Mayor Steve Young.

Young telling us that this week the city council will look at implementing an indoor mask mandate for everyone, including those vaccinated, due to rising COVID-19 numbers, something Solano County has not done.

“If wearing the mask inside is what we need to do to bring the rates back down and keep us all safe, I think it’s what we need to do,” says Virginia Barrazi who was walking through downtown Benicia Sunday.

Earlier this month we spoke with the Solano County Health Officer who explained why they chose not to implement indoor masking.

“The data don’t support the need for such a mandate. This disease in our county is very clearly spreading during/through social events, people who are going to parties, barbecues, picnics, campouts,” said Dr. Bela Matyas.

While many here are now supportive of an indoor mask mandate.

“I think it’s important to wear a mask inside, especially when people are not getting vaccinated, there’s young kids to think about,” said Ankita Saxena who was wearing her mask outside when we spoke with her.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of issue with people not wanting to wear a mask inside the store,” said Lisa Bellini of the Angel Heart 4 You store in downtown Benicia.

Some though are totally against it.

“If the mandate goes into effect, will you wear a mask?” we asked one man in Benicia to which he replied, “Hell no, hell no, it’s complete garbage, the virus is up here one minute and down here the next minute,” said Rick Chase who is against mask wearing, vaccinations, and doesn’t believe that COVID-19 is what it’s made out to be.

Mayor Young says he knows that some are against an indoor mask mandate but believes it is the right thing to do at this time. Even saying that he believes the City of Vallejo may soon look at an indoor mask mandate too.

“For a lot of us the individual right stops when public health is impacted by that and I think that’s where we are,” says Mayor Young.

The Benicia City Council will take up the possibility of an indoor mask mandate for all in their meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m.