L.A. County ends indoor mask rules: How will it affect you?
In a sign of improving coronavirus conditions, L.A. County on Friday lifted indoor mask requirements, regardless of vaccination status, in many public places.
Here is what you need to know:
- Lifting the mask mandate applies to such places as bars, stores, offices, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters.
- Even with the changes, California and L.A. County officials are still “strongly recommending” mask use in indoor public settings.
- Masking in indoor and outdoor public settings is still required in L.A. County for people with a coronavirus infection, for 10 days after symptoms begin or a positive test result.
Businesses can choose to retain their mask requirement for both customers and employees. And residents can still choose to wear a mask in any public place.
Los Angeles County ended its indoor mask mandate after entering the low coronavirus community level set by the CDC.
- The L.A. County revised order also relaxed some of the local vaccination verification rules. Vaccination verification is no longer required at outdoor mega-events — such as at theme parks, SoFi and Dodger stadiums, the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and the Hollywood Bowl — and no longer required in indoor portions of bars, lounges, nightclubs, distilleries, wineries and breweries.
- The county still strongly recommends vaccination verification for outdoor mega-events and indoor bars and similar venues.
- Vaccination verification or a recent negative test still will be required at indoor mega-events — those with more than 1,000 people, such as NBA games at Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center) — which remains a statewide requirement. Vaccination verification also is required for healthcare workers and employees at nursing homes.
- The county’s relaxed rules do not alter stricter local vaccination verification orders, such as those implemented by the city of Los Angeles and West Hollywood. A city of L.A. ordinance, known as SafePassLA, requires businesses such as bars, indoor restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to check that customers are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Is it safe to lift indoor mask rules at California schools? Here’s what health experts say
California’s strict indoor mask rules at schools have helped prevent major coronavirus outbreaks on campuses.
- The state will continue to require mask use in indoor K-12 settings through March 11. Starting March 12, school operators can decide whether to require masks indoors.
- Officials have stressed it’s still fine to wear masks in indoor public settings and that such behavior still offers strong protection. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, also said this week that he’s strongly recommending mask use indoors statewide to further protect the vulnerable until case rates drop.
- Wearing a mask will still help protect children still too young to be vaccinated as well as people who are at greater risk for worrisome complications from COVID-19 even if they are vaccinated, such as older people, those with weakened immune systems and people with chronic conditions, including asthma, diabetes, lung disease and heart disease.
- Continuing to wear a mask will also help reduce the chance of infection that could lead to “long COVID,” which can affect people who did not suffer symptoms from their coronavirus infection. Long COVID can result in difficulty breathing, symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities, and difficulty thinking or concentrating, sometimes referred to as brain fog.
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