SF Relaxes Outdoor Mask Rules

Susan Philip at the city's COVID Command Center at Moscone Center in April 2021.

Mabel Jiménez/San Francisco Department of Public Health

Susan Philip at the city's COVID Command Center at Moscone Center in April 2021.

Under a new health order, San Franciscans no longer need to wear a mask while doing outdoor activities like walking or biking alone or with members of their households. Unvaccinated people should wear a mask if social distancing can’t be maintained. Fully vaccinated people can almost entirely forgo masks outdoors, with certain exceptions. Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco’s health officer, explained the details of the new order and how these decisions are made on “Civic.” 

“When people are choosing to appropriately follow the guidance, and not necessarily wear their masks all the time outdoors, I’ve heard stories about being yelled at for not wearing their mask — just in the last day or so since the order has come out — being told that they’re being inconsiderate, and people getting very upset with them. They are not doing anything that is against our guidance. They are actually following what’s allowed in the guidance. And those changes were made by me as the health officer because it’s permissible to do that now and still keep ourselves safe.”

— Dr. Susan Philip

A segment from our radio show and podcast, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco, and subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify or Stitcher