By the time vaccinated Angelenos were just getting comfortable going maskless indoors, they had to put them right back on again. Only weeks after the statewide reopening, an indoor mask mandate returned in L.A. County in mid-July, followed by one for massive outdoor events a month later. And, well, here we are in November with both of those still in place.
But on Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health finally outlined a framework for doing away with its mask mandates. In short, if Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county fall to—and can remain—roughly where they were before the surge of the Delta variant, Public Health won’t require you to wear a mask at outdoor mega events, or (if you’re vaccinated) at relatively small indoor spaces like restaurants, stores, gyms and movie theaters.
Here’s the breakdown…
For the mask mandate to be lifted at outdoor mega events (that’s stadium and festival-sized outings with more than 10,000 people), L.A. County needs to have:
- Three consecutive weeks at or below the CDC’s moderate transmission tier, which means fewer than 50 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents.
- Three consecutive weeks at or below 600 daily Covid-19 hospitalizations.
- 80% or more of county residents 12 and older fully vaccinated.
For indoor events and venues with fewer than 1,000 people:
- All of the requirements listed above will need to be met.
- All employees and customers must be fully vaccinated—and show proof verifying that’s the case.
Schools, healthcare facilities and public transit would still keep the mask mandate in place per federal requirements, and indoor events with more than 1,000 people would still require masks due to a state ordinance.
So where does L.A. stand right now? Well… we’re not quite there. The CDC estimates the county’s weekly case rate to be 80.3 per 100,000 people, and that’s been increasing slightly. (For reference, the last time the county would’ve cleared that 50-person threshold was early July, at the very beginning of the Delta-fueled surge.) Hospitalizations, meanwhile, have also increased to 659 people. And the over-12 fully-vaccinated rate currently sits at 72% of the county (though 80% have received at least one dose).
And of course, even once we do meet those metrics, it’ll still be up to businesses whether or not they choose to require masks; just as some asked for proof of vaccination even before local government ordinances, we’re sure that some venues may opt to keep their mask requirements in place.