Ninad Dhuri takes off his mask to eat with fellow San Jose State University students Rinkle Anuwadia (left) and Divya Mutha (right), at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 6, 2021. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

Employees and visitors of congregate facilities like prisons and homeless shelters will no longer be required to wear a mask indoors in all situations under updated guidance from state public health officials.

The new guidance from the California Department of Public Health aligns recommended mask use with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s three levels of community COVID-19 transmission.

The CDPH strongly recommends those who are at high risk for severe illness to wear a mask in a crowded indoor congregate facility while those who are at a lower risk of serious illness are advised to consider wearing a mask.

The CDPH continues to require the use of a mask in health care and long-term care facilities. Changes for congregate facilities are set to take effect Friday.

“This shift in masking … gives Californians the information they should consider when deciding when to wear a mask, including the rate of spread in the community and personal risk,” CDPH Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said in a statement.

As of Wednesday, Marin and Sonoma counties were at the medium transmission level as determined by the CDC, the only two counties in the greater Bay Area above the low transmission level.

Information about the state’s mask guidance and requirements can be found at