UPDATE: After heavily hinting at it, on Wednesday the L.A. County Department of Public Health officially announced that it’ll no longer require masks indoors.
As the county makes its move into a lower tier of the CDC’s risk assessment, Angelenos will no longer need to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status (with the except of public transit and healthcare settings, where masks are still federally mandated). The new order will take effect Friday, March 4 (though not in schools until March 11), at which point masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended (unless a business specifically chooses to require masks).
Public health’s new order will also drop vaccine check requirements at indoor bars, outdoor mega events and theme parks in L.A. County. However, the City of L.A.’s wider-reaching vax check policy at many indoor venues still remains in place—though a motion has been introduced to roll that back.
Our original story from February 23 appears below.
Even though California ditched its indoor mask mandate last week, the L.A. County Department of Public Health decided to keep its own ordinance in place—and projected it would remain until late March. But now, L.A. County has decided to ease some of those rules much sooner than initially expected.
Starting Friday, February 25, any indoor business in L.A. County—including restaurants, bars, offices, movies theaters and gyms—can choose to make masks optional for fully vaccinated patrons as long as the venue is checking vaccination status at the door.
However, Long Beach and Pasadena, which both operate their own health departments, will roll out even less restrictive orders that more closely align with the state’s rules: As long as a business allows it, fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear masks in most indoor settings.
As for the rest of L.A., Public Health’s new order, which goes into effect Friday at 12:01am, means that most venues in L.A. can now opt to go maskless. Of course, you can still choose to wear a mask indoors if you’d like, and individual businesses can still choose to require them. As a quick refresher: In greater L.A. County, indoor bars and mega events are the only spots that require Covid-19 vaccination verification, but the City of Los Angeles has a stricter mandate that targets many more indoor establishments, including restaurants, theaters, gyms and salons. On the other hand, unless your local supermarket starts checking vax statuses at the door, it’s likely that you’ll technically still need to wear a mask at most retail establishments until the rest of the mask mandate is lifted, likely in late March.
The new order outlines two main scenarios, one in which vaccinated customers can go maskless and another in which customers and employees can remove their masks. In both cases, all customers five and older must show proof of vaccination. As for unvaccinated individuals, they’ll need to provide a recent negative PCR or antigen test, but they’ll be required to keep their masks on except when eating or drinking.