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L.A. County relaxes outdoor mask rules for vaccinated people

People ride bikes and jog along the beach.
L.A. County has eased rules on when fully vaccinated people should wear masks outside.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The L.A. County Department of Public Health has revised a pandemic health order to align itself with new federal guidance that eased rules on when fully vaccinated people should wear masks.

The updated health order, which goes into effect Friday, states that unless they are in crowded settings, fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear a mask when outdoors alone, with members of their household or with a small group of fully vaccinated people. They also can go without a mask when intermingling with a small group of people who are not fully vaccinated but not at high risk for experiencing serious illness or death from the coronavirus.

The order states that fully vaccinated people must still wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings, such as concerts or sporting events, in spaces where physical distancing isn’t possible and it’s unknown if everyone is fully vaccinated, in indoor public settings and at worksites or businesses.

The new order comes as the county is seeing record lows of coronavirus cases and may soon move to the most lenient of California’s four-category color-coded reopening system.

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Officials, however, have expressed alarm about a slowdown in COVID-19 vaccination rates in the county. Appointments for the first dose of the vaccine have dropped by half.

In response, the county is permitting more walk-ins at vaccination sites.

“All of our sites will continue to just take anybody who shows up, even if they don’t have an appointment,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday. “I think the strategy moving forward for all of us is going to be to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated.


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