Mask Mandate Returns in L.A. County

by Marc Tahler

In response to a sharp increase in transmission rates of COVID-19, L.A. County officials have reinstated the indoor mask mandate which ended June 15. Masks will again be required indoors beginning at midnight on Saturday, July 17, regardless of vaccination status.

While specific details of the modified Health Officer Order have not yet been announced, the rules will be similar to masking requirements that were in place prior to the June 15 reopening and limited exceptions will apply, according to a statement from the county’s Public Health Department. The order will apply to the entire county except Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own independent health departments. Long Beach announced that it will follow L.A. County in requiring masks indoors.

The rules before June 15 required masks for everyone at “indoor public settings,” including retail shops, restaurants, theaters, meetings and government offices. These rules do not apply in Ventura County. In addition, masks are required in health care, school and public transportation settings.

“We’re requiring masking for everyone while indoors at public settings and businesses, regardless of vaccination status so that we can stop the increased level of transmission we’re seeing,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said on Twitter Thursday.

On June 15, the day of the full reopening, the county reported 210 new coronavirus cases and transmission was classified as ‘minimal’ with a test positivity rate around 0.5 percent. On Thursday, the Public Health Department confirmed 1,537 new cases — the highest number of new COVID-19 cases since mid-March, with a test positivity rate of 3.7 percent.

“We expect to keep masking requirements in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19. But waiting for us to be at high community transmission level before making a change would be too late. Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so that we can stop the trends and level of transmission we are currently seeing,” Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County Health Officer, said in a statement.

Published on 2021-07-16 15:27:14