L.A. County Lifts Outdoor Mask Mandate for Mega-Events and Schools; March Likely for Indoors

Los Angeles County is expected to lift its outdoor mask mandate Wednesday following a decrease in the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19. The indoor mask requirement could be lifted by the end of March if case rates continue to decline.

With guidelines imposed earlier this month, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county would lift its mask requirement if hospitalizations remained under 2,500 for seven consecutive days. At 2,054 patients reported, Monday, Feb. 14 was the fifth consecutive day under the 2,500 threshold.

If numbers stay low, Los Angelinos will no longer need to wear face coverings at outdoor “mega-events,” and the mask mandate for schools and childcare facilities will also be lifted.

While the state of California will lift its indoor mask mandate for vaccinated people by the end of day Tuesday, L.A. County has stricter criteria.

According to KNX News, Ferrer said L.A. County will not lift its indoor mask mandate until the local COVID transmission rate falls into the Centers for Disease Control’s “moderate” category for two weeks, or until vaccines for children aged under five have been available for at least eight weeks. Therefore if the levels were sufficiently low by March 15, the mandate would life March 30.

In order to be classified as “moderate” by the CDC, L.A. County would need to decrease its case rate to less than 50 per 100,000 residents. On Monday, the county clocked about 459 cases per 100,000 residents.

Despite the recent dip in hospitalizations, Ferrer continues to encourage L.A. residents to get vaccinated and boosted.

“We are once again at a pivotal point in our recovery journey where we don’t have the luxury of ignoring our individual and collective responsibilities,” Ferrer said in a statement on Monday. “Given where we are, and the continued risk in under-resourced communities, we need to use sensible safety protections that help us drive down transmission of this dangerous virus.”

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