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Big milestone in pandemic recovery, with masking rules relaxed on Central, South Coasts

A mandatory indoor mask requirement for everyone regardless of vaccination status goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday in Santa Barbara County.
Mika Baumeister
The mandatory indoor masking requirement for those who are vaccinated was relaxed in most settings as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. However, those who are unvaccinated must still mask up.

But, public health experts say even those who don't have to mask indoors anymore should do it.

There’s a major milestone Wednesday in recovery efforts against the COVID-19 surge on the Central and South Coasts.

The indoor masking requirements have been dropped for those who are vaccinated in most indoor situations. Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo are all taking part in the state’s rollback.

But, public health officials say you should still consider using masks.

Masking is still mandatory in indoor settings for those who are unvaccinated. And, masks are still required for everyone using public transportation, in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and congregate care facilities.

And, while there is some positive news Wednesday, there are also some sobering statistics.

The Central and South Coasts have had a combined 322,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. It includes 168,000 in Ventura County, 83,000 in Santa Barbara County, and nearly 51,000 in San Luis Obispo County. The three counties have had 2,436 COVID-19 related deaths.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.