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COVID-19 Update: New Health Order Relaxes Indoor Mask Rules

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Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health updated its COVID-19 Health Order to allow many indoor workplaces and public places, as well as indoor mega events, to relax their indoor mask rules under certain conditions.  The new rules will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Februarys 25.

According to the County’s announcement, workplaces and public spaces such as stores, restaurants, bars, theaters and more may choose to allow either fully vaccinated employees, customers and other visitors to go maskless, or just their customers and visitors.  In either case, those eligible to drop their masks indoors must first provide proof of full vaccination, a negative PCR test within two days, or a negative antigen test within 24 hours of entering the venue.  (Note that over-the-counter rapid tests will not qualify for customers and visitors, though businesses may accept them for employee verifications if they’re used according to Cal-OSHA protocols.)

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons, or those unwilling to verify their vaccination status, will still be required to wear masks in all indoor venues that require them, except when actively eating and drinking.

The new order explains that while our current transmission rate of 133.27 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days continues to place us at a “High” rate of transmission, new cases are continuing to trend reliably downward, so the Health Department estimates we will reach the threshold for “Substantial” transmission (50-99.99 cases per 100,000 people) very soon…which is why it was willing to reconsider current masking rules.

For the most part, the new rules align with statewide masking policies adopted on February 7, and they are scheduled to remain in effect until we reach an officially “Moderate” transmission rate, when further modifications may be made.

Finally, it’s important to note that this rule does not supersede stricter state and federal rules that still require masks on public transit and in certain specific places or situations.  And, of course, no one is required to go maskless indoors or out – people may still wear masks in any location where they choose to do so.


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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