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3rd Street in Santa Rosa
photo credit: (Credit: Marc Albert/KRCB)
With temperatures perfect for ice-cold beer, there were still vacant tables at the height of Wednesday's lunch rush at Russian River Brewing in downtown Santa Rosa.
 
Between a quarter and a third of those spotted along Third Street were masked. That's pretty much unchanged from the pandemic's height, says one parking enforcement officer.
 
Despite assurances from Gov. Gavin Newsom and public health authorities, there's a reluctance out there. Jean Oliviano, a nurse, is among those still masking up. "My concern is with the variants, the mutations that are going on," she said. Her son, Augustine Rodriguez, a Fresno resident says few down south ever sported masks, but he's an exception.
"I'm vaccinated, fully vaccinated, but I wear my mask for my mom since I'm visiting her," he said.
 
For Kate Hall, a special education teacher from Petaluma, first in her mind is protecting those who can't, or won't get the jab.
"All of us just wear a mask to let other people know we respect their choices, and if they can't be vaccinated. We just wear them until we feel like people are being honest about whether they are vaccinated or not," she said.
 
Caitlin Pickard said she's playing it safe, for a bit longer. "I still wear a mask at work, I still wear it at the grocery store. I'm wearing it for maybe another month, and see how things go," she said.
 
At his appliance repair shop, Farid Asef still speaks from behind a plastic partition and mask...about the abrupt change.
"Still, I'm not comfortable to just remove (my) mask. It cannot be. The day before, was the virus all over? And (the) next day all gone," he asked.
 
He says he'll keep masking up, for now. "Because, still I feel the virus would be around. It's not for sure, it's gone," he said.
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