Napa County issues indoors mask mandate, leaving Solano Public Health Officer Bela Matyas alone in Bay Area with bad advice

By Roger Straw, August 6, 2021

Masks now REQUIRED in Napa workplaces and indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status

Napa County is now the 8th of 9 Bay Area counties to require masks indoors.

Only Solano County remains unprotected by public health officials who prefer to ignore their responsibility to protect public health and safety during the delta variant’s increasing summer surge.

The Napa mandate can be downloaded here.  Relevant introductory policy statement is as follows:

    1. Summary: This Order requires all individuals to wear face coverings when indoors in workplaces and public settings, with limited exemptions, and recommends that businesses
      make face coverings available to individuals entering the business.
    2. Effective Date and Time: This Order becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on August 6, 2021, and will continue in effect until the Health Officer rescinds, supersedes, or amends it in
    3. Background: This Order is made in light of the recent significant increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Napa County, due primarily to the Delta variant of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Emerging evidence indicates that the Delta variant is more transmissible than prior variants of the virus, may cause more severe illness, and that even fully vaccinated individuals can spread the virus to others. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) now both recommend that all persons—regardless of vaccination status—wear face coverings indoors when with people outside of their household. Vaccination remains the best and most effective tool in preventing COVID-19 and its harms….”

The Napa mandate continues with more detailed information, including exceptions:

  1. Indoor Face Covering Requirement: Regardless of vaccination status, all persons must wear face coverings at all times when indoors except:
    1. in their own residence solely with members of their own household; or
    2. when working in a closed room or office; or
    3. when actively performing an activity that cannot be done while wearing a face covering, such as actively eating or drinking, swimming, showering in a fitness facility, or obtaining a medical or cosmetic service requiring temporary removal of a face covering to perform the service; or
    4. as specifically exempted from use of face coverings under the guidance of CDPH at, such as to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or where a face covering poses a safety risk.
Solano County Deputy Director of Health and Social Services Dr. Bela Matyas

Solano County Public Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas continues to refuse to issue a countywide mask mandate.  His public comments have been dismissive, stating repeatedly that “The transmission that’s occurring [is] in people’s homes, backyards, camping.” “…it’s not an environment where masking recommendations are going to apply.”

In my opinion, Dr. Matyas is endangering the health and safety of residents of Solano County, most especially our unvaccinated children and those with compromised health.  As increasing numbers of us catch the virus with mild symptoms, the virus is spread farther and farther, and inevitably reaches those whose symptoms will be devastating.  This has got to stop – by all measures: renewed masking and social distancing as well as vastly increased vaccination.

I’m not sure, but there may be disagreement within the Solano County Public Health Department.  Witness the County’s Facebook page, and website, where masking is highlighted in support of the California mandate.  Pinned to the top of the Facebook page since July 29:

Also on July 29, Solano County Public Health updated its Coronavirus Updates and Resources page with the following details, in support of the California partial mask mandate.

Face Covering

All Californians will continue to follow State masking guidelines:

Masks are required for all individuals in the following indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status:

    • On public transit[1] (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation)
    • Indoors in K-12 schools[2]childcare[3]
    • Emergency shelters[4] and cooling centers[5]Masks are required for all individuals, in the following indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status (and surgical masks are recommended):
      • Healthcare settings[6]
      • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers[7]
      • Homeless shelters[8]
      • Long Term Care Settings[9] & Adult and Senior Care Facilities[10]
      • Additionally, masks are required* for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public).

4.      Exemptions:
The following specific settings are exempt from face covering requirements:

    • Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household,
    • Persons who are working alone in a closed office or room,
    • Persons who are obtaining a medical or cosmetic service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service,
    • Workers who wear respiratory protection, or
    • Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.

·     The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:

    • Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
    • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.*
    • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
    • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

*Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

Related Materials: Face Coverings Fact sheet (PDF) | Face Mask Tips and Resources | Face Shields Q&A (PDF) | All Guidance | More Languages