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L.A. County’s mask requirement at large outdoor venues is now the law. What you need to know

Very few fans wear masks in the stands as the Dodgers play the Mets at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 19.
Very few fans are wearing masks in the stands during a Dodgers-Mets game at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Starting Friday, a mask mandate will be in place for all outdoor venues holding 10,000 people or more.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Beginning Friday, Los Angeles County is requiring face coverings for anyone attending large outdoor events, such as concerts, festivals and sports games, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Here is what you need to know:

What is the L.A. County health order?

The order applies to outdoor events that attract crowds of more than 10,000 people.

In those cases, attendees must “wear face masks at all times, except when actively eating or drinking,” the order from the Department of Public Health states. That’s further defined as “the limited time during which the mask can be removed briefly to eat or drink, after which it must be immediately put back on.”

The mandate would apply to sizable events at a host of venues, including Dodger Stadium, the Hollywood Bowl, L.A. Coliseum and the Rose Bowl.

L.A. County’s new mask order would also affect the Rose Bowl, L.A. Coliseum and other venues, and reflects the higher COVID risk of the Delta variant.

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What prompted the rule?

Health experts have long said crowded indoor public spaces pose a particularly high risk of coronavirus transmission — especially for those who are unvaccinated.

But L.A. County’s new order is a step beyond and, officials say, reflects the dangers posed by Delta, which has fueled sharp rises in cases and hospitalizations over the last two months.

“As the highly infectious Delta variant continues to spread, wearing masks — regardless of vaccination status — indoors and in crowded settings, including at outdoor mega events, reduces the risk of being infected with and transmitting COVID-19,” the Department of Public Health said in a statement Tuesday evening.

L.A. County is imposing a mask order for outdoor events that attract crowds of more than 10,000 people, such as concerts and sporting competitions.

What do California rules say?

California this week announced a tightening of its rules for large indoor gatherings.

Under the updated guidance, which goes into effect Sept. 20, organizers of indoor events where at least 1,000 people are present will have to verify that all attendees have either been vaccinated for COVID-19 or tested negative within the prior 72 hours.

California already requires such screenings for indoor events with crowds of at least 5,000.

“The Delta variant has proven to be highly transmissible, making it easier to spread in large crowds where people are near each other for long periods of time,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health and the state’s public health officer, said in a statement Wednesday. “By requiring individuals to be vaccinated, or test negative for COVID-19 at large events, we are decreasing the risk of infection, hospitalization and death.”

Beyond widening the pool of events subject to verification requirements, state officials also announced that self-attestation, in which someone pledged that they were either vaccinated or had recently tested negative for coronavirus infection, is no longer an option.

Instead, attendees will have to show proof — the white paper card from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a photo of it or some kind of digital record, such as the ones available through the state at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.


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