Reaching out to touch someone is going be quite different for Lodi residents in two weeks.

Beginning Oct. 24, San Joaquin County residents will be required to dial the 209 area code if they want to make local telephone calls.

On that day, any phone calls made with just seven digits may not connect, the Federal Communication Commission said last month.

The announcement comes as the FCC begins taking steps to implement 988 as a new three-digit number to be used nationwide when calling the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. The new 988 number will take effect on July 16, 2022.

According to the FCC, there are 82 area codes in 35 states and one U.S. territory that currently use 988 as a local exchange, or prefix, to allow seven digit dialing.

Areas served by the 209 area code include the entirety of the Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties; as well as in parts of Alameda, Alpine, El Dorado, Fresno and Madera counties. It is also used in southern Sacramento county, particularly in Galt.

Other area codes that will be affected by the dialing change include 530, 562, 626, 650, 707, 925, 949 and 951, the FCC said.

The 209 area code was created in 1958 when it was split from the 415 area code, which currently serves San Francisco and portions of Marin County.

In 1997, the area code was split again from the 559 area code, which now serves Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties.

In addition to dialing 10 digits in the near future, the California Public Utilities Commission said that a new area code will be added in the region, as the 209 area code is close to exhausting available prefixes.

As of last April, the CPUC said that only 35 prefixes were available for the 209 area code, and they are expected to be depleted by December 2022.

A relief plan, which can be either an area code split or an overlay, must be adopted, the agency said.

A split maintains a single area code for a geographic location and minimizes confusion for customers outside the area. It requires an area code change for about half the customers in a two-way split, or for two-thirds of the customers in a three-way split, the CPUC said.

Splits permit seven-digit dialing within an area code, but they also reduce the geographic size of an area code, the CPUC said.

However, the agency said a split hasn’t been implemented in the country in 14 years, and overlays have become the preferred method of area code relief.

With an overlay, there will be more than one area code in a geographic location. It does not require current customers to change their area codes. It also ends the shrinking of an area code’s geographic location, but customers will be required to dial 10 digits when making all calls, including local calls.

The CPUC said an overlay is the only option for the 209 area code, as it is one of nine in the state transitioning to the 10-digit dialing requirement.

Calling areas and rates will not be changed when the transition is complete, the CPUC said.

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/ten-digit-dialing, or www.tinyurl. com/CPUC209.

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