The mandate will apply to everyone — including those who are already fully vaccinated.
County health officer Muntu Davis held a virtual press conference announcing the public health order on Thursday. Masks will now be required in all indoor public establishments, including retail shops, grocery stores, bars, clubs, restaurants and workplaces.
Davis said that indoor dining will remain open, but that people will have to remain masked while they are not eating or drinking.
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a rapid and sustained increase in the number of new cases reported each day,” Davis said.
Some exceptions will apply, but the order will be similar to masking requirements that were in place prior to the state’s June 15 reopening, he said, according to a report from The Hill.
The mandate will be indefinite, according to Davis, “until we see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19.”
When asked if the county might consider reimplementing additional requirements, such as capacity limits and physical distancing, Davis said, “Everything is on the table if things continue to get worse.”
Deaths from COVID have been low in the county, but hospitalizations have been on the rise, according to Davis. On Wednesday, there were reportedly 400 people hospitalized with it in the county.
The new mandate is beyond what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends, as they have said that people who are vaccinated do not need to continue wearing masks.
The Hill report noted that “some public health experts warned that without requiring proof of vaccination, the CDC was inviting unvaccinated people to also go maskless, increasing the community risk and removing incentives for the holdouts to get vaccinated.”
There are approximately four million people who declined to get vaccinated in Los Angeles County.
“Currently, 69% of county residents aged 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 61% are fully vaccinated. Among those aged 65 and older, 88% have received at least one dose, and 78% are fully vaccinated,” Fox 11 reports.
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