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To mask or not: Reminders for holiday weekend

This Independence Day weekend will be especially sweet for Americans, who will be liberated from many of the COVID-19 protocols they followed this time last year.

But there still are things to keep in mind before heading out. Masks and social distancing rules still are required in some places and there are different rules for people who are vaccinated and those who are not.

If you’re fully vaccinated, you won’t need a mask when meeting friends inside your favorite restaurant.

If you’re catching a bus or trolley to that restaurant, however, you still have to wear a mask. Metropolitan Transit System requires everyone to wear a face covering while riding one of its vehicles and while waiting at a stop or at an MTS station. North County Transit District is abiding by the same protocols.

While you’re on board or waiting for your ride, remember to practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet apart whenever possible. Once on board, pick a seat that leaves some distance between you and other passengers. MTS states on its websites that it has increased its service levels to help keep adequate space for social distancing.

For indoor activities, unvaccinated people must wear masks at movie theaters, restaurants, retail spaces, entertainment centers and mega events with more than 5,000 people.

People who are vaccinated don’t have to wear masks at indoor mega events, but state guidelines require them to show proof they are vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours.

Everybody also stills has to wear masks in health care settings, including long-term care facilities.

Masks aren’t required at most places, but don’t be surprised if you’re asked to put one on before getting your hair cut or nails done. Individual businesses are allowed to require them at their discretion.

You’re also likely to see employees at many businesses still wearing masks, though state rules do not require them for workers who are fully vaccinated.

Masks are optional at holiday events that were cancelled last year but back on this weekend, including Coronado’s July 4 parade that kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday. Fireworks return that night in Oceanside and are scheduled at various locations throughout the county July 4.

Planning on catching a concert? You probably won’t have to wear a mask, but you might check with whatever venue you’re planning to visit.

Live music resumes Wednesday at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, and Belly Up Entertainment President Chris Goldsmith said protocols are being assessed daily and a final statement for customers still is in the works. Masks won’t be required for now, but the venue will operate at 80 percent capacity for the first six weeks, he said.

The La Jolla Music Festival’s 2021 SummerFest begins later this month, and the event organizers say mask protocols will follow whatever is in place at the time. For now, attendees can expect to provide proof of vaccinations or a negative test result. Likewise for the San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops series that begins in August.

If you’re planning a weekend get-away, bring your mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires them on all planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation and also at all airports and stations.

If your trip is to Los Angeles, don’t put your mask away once you arrive. The spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus prompted the L.A. County Department of Public Health to recommend everyone wear masks in public indoor spaces such as grocery or retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers.