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LA County announces end to indoor mask requirement for fully vaccinated individuals

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that fully vaccinated individuals may not have to wear masks in indoor settings that require vaccine verification starting Friday.

By Victoria Ke Li and Noah Danesh

Feb. 23, 2022 3:32 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 24 at 5:32 p.m.

Los Angeles County will lift its indoor mask mandate in places requiring vaccine verification beginning Friday. 

Based on declining COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced in a press release Wednesday that fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks indoors, provided businesses verify their vaccination status. LACDPH is still encouraging individuals to wear masks indoors, according to the press release.

To allow employees and customers to remove their masks, businesses must verify that everyone over 5 years old who enters an indoor area is vaccinated. Customers who are unvaccinated will need to wear well-fitting masks unless they are actively eating or drinking, according to the press release.

Masking will still be required on public transit and at transportation hubs in line with current U.S. Department of Transportation requirements.

UCLA’s indoor mask mandate will remain in place, according to a BruinPost sent Thursday by the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force. The task force will monitor COVID-19 conditions locally and on campus and could make changes that will be implemented spring quarter, the task force said in an emailed announcement.

“COVID-19 case numbers at UCLA have significantly reduced since the peak in January, but the case numbers are still much higher than where we were last summer and fall,” the task force said in an emailed announcement. “For this reason, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force believes it is prudent to maintain our current protections, including indoor masking for all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.”

As of Feb. 15, the seven-day average test positivity rate was 2.78%, compared to more than 20% during the first week of January, according to LACDPH data.

The announcement comes six days after California updated its COVID-19 response plan, which seeks to ease the state out of an emergency response. California lifted its universal indoor mask mandate Feb. 16.

“As transmission drops and there is less virus circulating, some tools may afford significant protections against the very worst risks associated with COVID,” said LACDPH Director Barbara Ferrer in the press release. “Because vaccines are one of these tools, with lower rates of hospital admissions and COVID hospitalizations, it is appropriate in settings verifying vaccination or negative test status, that we transition to strongly recommending masking instead of requiring masking.”

Contributing reports from Saumya Gupta, Daily Bruin senior staff.

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Victoria Ke Li | Editor in chief
Li is the 2022-2023 editor in chief. She was previously the 2021-2022 assistant News editor on the Science and Health beat and a contributor for News, Illustrations, Design and Photo. They are also a fourth-year human biology and society student from San Diego, CA minoring in public health and professional writing.
Li is the 2022-2023 editor in chief. She was previously the 2021-2022 assistant News editor on the Science and Health beat and a contributor for News, Illustrations, Design and Photo. They are also a fourth-year human biology and society student from San Diego, CA minoring in public health and professional writing.
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