SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Counties in the San Francisco Bay Area will start easing their requirements for people to wear masks inside many public spaces. A group of eight counties in the region said Thursday that the rules will be dropped when overall vaccination rates are above 80% and COVID-19 transmission rates and hospitalizations are low. In San Francisco, where places like gyms and offices already require people to show proof of vaccination, some will be allowed to drop masks next week. The Bay Area has among the highest vaccination rates and lowest case rates in the nation. Counties had reinstated the indoor mask mandate in August as infections surged because of the highly contagious delta variant.