LA relaxing indoor mask rules
Los Angeles County is relaxing its indoor mask requirements as the spread of COVID-19 reduces in the area.
Beginning Friday, various establishments, businesses and venues are permitted to make masking optional for individuals that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a statement on Wednesday from the county’s public health department. The scaled-back regulations will also apply to fully vaccinated employees.
Establishments must verify that all customers ages five and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they enter the indoor space, according to the county.
Customers who present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test will also be allowed to enter without a mask. If individuals present a PCR test it must be from within two days of entry, and within one day of entry for antigen tests.
Those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and do not have proof of a recent negative test must continue to wear a mask indoors.
The county said it is scaling back its regulations as the spread of COVID-19 reduces in the area.
“As the county continues to experience reduced COVID-19 spread, it is appropriate to consider fewer required safety measures, noting that vulnerable individuals should continue to layer in all protections possible,” the county said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Given decreased risk, Public Health is modifying the Health Officer Order to allow establishments, businesses, and venues verifying vaccination status to offer optional masking for fully vaccinated individuals,” the county added.
Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer pointed to lower rates of hospital admissions as a reason for relaxing mitigation measures.
“As transmission drops and there is less virus circulating, some tools may afford significant protections against the very worst risks associated with COVID,” Ferrer said in a statement.
“Because vaccines are one of these tools, with lower rates of hospital admissions and COVID hospitalizations, it is appropriate in settings verifying vaccination or negative test status, that we transition to strongly recommending masking instead of requiring masking,” she added.
The optional mask mandate comes after the county last week eased its outdoor face-covering requirement, allowing people to go without a mask when outdoors at schools and child-care facilities. The new regulations also applied to outdoor “mega-events.”