Coronavirus: Los Angeles To Reinstate Mask Mandate This Weekend %EF%BF%BD%EF%BF%BD%EF%BF%BD As It Happened


Los Angeles is reinstating a mask mandate, requiring residents to wear face coverings in indoor situations, regardless of vaccination status, with the country continuing to experience a rise in Covid-19 cases.

The requirement goes into effect at 11:59pm local time on Saturday, barely a month after Los Angeles dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated people on June 15 to coincide with California reopening its economy.

The most populous in the US reported more than 1,500 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, an 83 per cent jump from a week earlier, according to Los Angeles county health official Dr Muntu Davis.

“We are at ‘substantial’; the next level is ‘high’. We have to do something now,” Davis said in a briefing with reporters on Thursday afternoon, referring to the county’s level of new infections and in the hope that more stringent restrictions would need to immediately be brought in.

“Masking indoors must again become normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so they can stop the trends and level of transmission we’re currently seeing,” he said.

The order is expected to remain in place “until we begin to see improvements,” Davis continued.

Late last month, Los Angeles county health officials recommended residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings as a precautionary measure.

The mask mandate for Los Angeles comes on the heels of Sacramento, California’s capital, which issued a recommendation to residents on Thursday to again wear masks indoors, because of an increasing number of new coronavirus cases linked to the Delta variant.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its Covid-19 guidance in mid-May, saying individuals who had been fully vaccinated could forgo masks in almost all indoor and outdoor situations. California decided at the time to delay the adoption of the new mask guidance until June 15, the date Governor Gavin Newsom targeted for lifting nearly all of the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

Last week, the CDC relaxed coronavirus guidelines for schools, exempting fully vaccinated teachers and students from wearing face coverings in school buildings. California said it would need to keep the mask rule in place because many school facilities cannot accommodate appropriate levels of distancing between students’ desks.

More than 5m Los Angeles residents, or 61 per cent of the county’s population, are fully vaccinated, according to the health department’s vaccine tracker. That is higher than the 51.4 per cent coverage level for California overall and 48.3 per cent nationally, according to CDC data.

Earlier this week, Muntu suggested to a briefing of the county’s board of supervisors that he wanted to recommend Los Angeles residents, especially if they are unvaccinated, reconsider travelling to states where Covid-19 case rates are high and rising, local media reported. He singled out Arkansas, Missouri, Florida Nevada (which borders California to the east) and Louisiana, which have the highest per capita rates of infection in the US, according to CDC data.

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