Even though masks are no longer required in most indoor situations, Los Angeles County’s health director has continued to encourage residents to use them, saying that they still offer effective protection against COVID-19 transmission.
“Although masking is not required, both the state and our Public Health Department are strongly recommending masking, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public spaces,” Ferrer said in a statement released Monday. “And those who are at elevated risk, or who live with someone who is at elevated risk, should wear a well-fitting respirator, as they provide the best protection against COVID-19.
“COVID-related illness can be quite dangerous for many since even those initially experiencing relatively mild illness can go on to develop long COVID. Taking sensible precautions remains the best way to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
Following the state’s lead, the county relaxed its indoor mask mandate for most locations on Friday. The state and county, meanwhile, continue to “strongly recommend” the masks.
In higher-risk areas, such as health care facilities, transit centers, airports, on public transportation, in correctional facilities, and at homeless shelters and long-term care facilities, masking is still essential.
On K-12 school campuses, indoor masks are still required, however, the county and state will lift the ban on Saturday. The policy, however, is expected to be in place until the end of the school year in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Despite the easing of the law, county officials pointed out that businesses can still require face coverings. Those can also wear masks anytime they want, especially in busy places or when interacting with people who are at higher risk of getting sick from the virus.
On Monday, the county reported 43 new COVID-19-related deaths, increasing the total number of COVID-19-related deaths to 31,046. In the last two days, 1,675 additional cases have been reported. On Sundays, the county no longer publishes COVID statistics.
With the latest cases, the county now has a total of 2,805,119 cases from the epidemic. As of Monday, the average rate of those testing positive for the virus was 1%.
As of Monday, there were 731 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles hospitals, down from 755 on Sunday, according to state records. There were 130 patients in intensive care on Monday, down from 131 the day before.
People attending indoor mega-events in the county with a maximum of 1,000 or more people, such as sporting events, must still present proof of COVID vaccination or a recent negative test in order to be allowed. Workers in health-care facilities and congregate-care facilities will still be required to provide evidence of vaccination or a negative test.
However, the county has removed the need that customers to show proof of vaccination in order to enter pubs, nightclubs, and lounges or attend outdoor mega-events.
However, a Los Angeles city law that went into effect on November 8 is still in effect. In order to enter indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment, and recreational facilities, personal care establishments, select public buildings, and mega-events with 5,000 or more attendees inside the city of Los Angeles, anyone over the age of 12 must present proof of vaccination. People can be excused from the rule for medical reasons or if they have a “sincerely held religious belief,” and exceptions must be reviewed by each business.
Nury Martinez, the president of the City Council, introduced a motion on Friday to begin the process of perhaps repealing the ordinance. However, the full council must first agree, after which the city attorney must prepare a new ordinance and present it to the council for another vote.