L.A. County to follow new federal mask guidance

A sign explaining a store's mask policies
A Gelson’s market policies amid the pandemic include required masks.
(Raul Roa / Times Community News)

Los Angeles County health officials said Tuesday that the county would be aligning itself with new federal guidance that relaxes advice on wearing masks outdoors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors unless they are in certain crowded settings.

CDC guidance says small, private gatherings and visits to public indoor spaces likely pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people. It said that fully vaccinated people can intermingle indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for contracting serious illness from COVID-19 without wearing masks or physical distancing.

In a news release, L.A. County’s Department of Public Health called the changes “appropriate and science-based” and said it would be adjusting its health orders to meet them.


But officials cautioned that more than half the residents of L.A. County are not yet fully vaccinated and that the new recommendations still support the need for both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks in crowds where social distancing isn’t possible and in indoor settings where unvaccinated people may be present.

“Because COVID-19 can still easily spread, unvaccinated people, who remain at highest risk of becoming infected, need to continue wearing masks in all settings where they are around people not in their household,” the release said.

Health officials in California also said they would adopt the more lenient guidance.

“We have reviewed and support the CDC’s new masking recommendations and are working quickly to align California’s guidance with these common sense updates,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health.