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California allows San Francisco to maintain existing COVID-19 masking rules

The state of California says the city of San Francisco is exempt from the state's newly reinstated mask mandate — requiring everyone to wear a mask indoors.

San Francisco Department of Public Health said Tuesday the city will continue to allow those who are fully vaccinated to remove their masks in gyms and workplaces, even as the state's reinstated mandate requires masks to be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The statewide mandate took effect Wednesday.

"This refinement acknowledges the hard work of the people of San Francisco throughout the pandemic, including the ways in which we have maintained reasonable protections heading into the holiday season," the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a tweet.

According to the department, about 86% of eligible San Francisco residents have received at least one vaccine dose, with more than 753,000 residents being vaccinated.

So far, California has administered 62 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"It's a recognition of all of the thought and care that San Francisco residents have been putting into staying as safe as possible," Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco's health officer told the Associated Press.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announcedthe news of the reinstated indoor mask mandate on Monday as cases of the coronavirus in the state have jumped up 47% in the past two weeks.

State officials had previously lifted the mask mandate on June 15 for residents who were vaccinated.

"We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy. Frankly, I am too," California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told the AP. "That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked and can work."

The statewide indoor mask mandate is scheduled to last until at least Jan. 15, 2022.

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Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.