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Riverside County recommends everyone wear masks indoors, vaccinated or not

Riverside County Public Health officials Wednesday recommend people wear masks indoors, even for those who are vaccinated.

The same announcement came earlier Wednesday from the California Dept. of Public Health, and Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control.

The city of Palm Springs was quick to follow in recommending universal indoor masking as well.

As cases climb, some in the valley said they are okay with keeping their masks on, while others said it should be their right to decide.

"I'm just not forcing people to do anything that's mandated," Nefi Arce said. "I'm just not for it."

"Doesn't really bother me, so I'll just keep wearing it," Samuel Gomez said.

While not a requirement, the guidance has come from the federal level, the state, and now the county.

"We are recommending it because we think that will stop the spread of the virus," said Jose Arballo with Riverside County Public Health.

"If you’ve already been vaccinated and you’re outdoors, don’t wear a mask," Sharon Jones said. "If you’re indoors, maybe wear your mask.”

The CDC issued its new guidance for everyone in areas of high transmission to wear a face mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.

The tracker Wednesday showed that Riverside County falls in the "high transmission" category.

At 849 in Palm Springs, owner Willie Rhine hoped to set the example by requiring his staff to wear masks starting last week.

"We knew it was going to be a busy weekend and every weekend is getting busier," Rhine said. "We decided that we wanted to keep our staff safe."

As concern grows about the highly transmissible Delta variant and new protective measures start to drop, Rhine said he's hoping to stay ahead of the curve and prevent another lockdown.

"We have a tremendously busy fall ahead of us and my worst fear is that we go back into lockdown again," he said.

Officials at every level are hoping people will take the simple step of wearing a mask – to keep the worst of the pandemic behind us.

"As long as we still have Covid going on, it's just to help out people," Gomez said. "It's nothing bad."

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Jesus Reyes

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