Indoor mask mandate will be lifted in LA County beginning March 4
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health lifted their indoor mask mandate Thursday, citing declining rates of COVID-19 community spread. (Ashley Kenney/Photo editor)
Los Angeles residents will no longer be required to wear masks indoors – regardless of vaccination status – starting Friday.
The LA County Department of Public Health announced Thursday that it would lift the indoor mask mandate because of lower COVID-19 transmission. The county moved from the high- to the low-risk tier of community spread based on criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC community levels are determined by factors such as the number of new hospital admissions due to COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the past week – one of several metrics that have dropped across the county in recent weeks following the omicron variant’s surge.
The announcement follows the county’s change in guidelines last week which removed indoor masking requirements for fully vaccinated individuals as long as businesses verified vaccination status.
However, the mask mandate remains in place for high-risk settings, including health care facilities and on public transportation, as well as for individuals in their 10-day quarantine or isolation period. California guidelines also require that masks be worn in K-12 schools through March 12.
According to a LACDPH press release Wednesday, public health officials at both state and local levels still strongly recommend masking in indoor spaces.
UCLA announced Feb. 24 that the university would keep current indoor masking guidelines in place and may reassess in the spring, citing that UCLA case numbers are still higher now than they were in summer and fall 2021.
Universal mask mandates across California were lifted last month as both the state and the federal government shift toward an approach that treats COVID-19 as a long-term challenge.
“With fewer people becoming infected and becoming severely ill from COVID-19 and safety requirements being relaxed, it’s very tempting to think the pandemic is over,” LACDPH Director Barbara Ferrer said in the press conference. “While transmission has greatly slowed and we’re in a much better place … there do continue to be thousands of people whose lives, families and work are disrupted each day because either they or someone close to them is newly infected with COVID-19, and for some of these people their infection can and will lead to more severe illness.”