Hopes for Los Angeles County to loosen mask mandate now unlikely

The county, although experiencing low levels due to vaccinations, will likely stay cautionary for a potential winter surge.

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CREDIT: GUSTAVO FRING | PEXELS

The mask mandate will likely continue into next year for all Los Angeles residents.

Los Angeles County had previously set conditions that people must meet in order to lift the public mask mandate on Nov. 2. The mandate has been in effect since the beginning of the summer, and the county is considering repealing it due to a significant decrease in the number of covid-19 cases.

Although now the date will likely be changed to sometime next year, the requirements will likely remain the same to achieve an end to the mask mandate.

One requirement that has been put into place is that the county should report a minimum of three consecutive weeks of covid-19 transmission at, or below, a normal level. 

While the county acknowledges that this condition may appear to be simple to satisfy, they still urge individuals to stay safe in order to reduce transmission.

The next condition is that daily covid-19 hospitalizations must remain below 600 for three weeks. 

Although hospitalizations have reduced drastically as a result of individuals doing their best to be safe, the county wants hospitalizations to be avoided as much as possible.

The third condition is that at least 80 percent of residents, aged 12 and up, should be fully vaccinated.

Despite the vaccination rates increasing, the county is still encouraging individuals who have not yet received the vaccine, to do so.

The last condition is that no major circulating variants of concern that might jeopardize vaccination effectiveness are being reported. 

Even though these requirements must be met to eliminate the mandate, these conditions do not apply to every indoor setting and individuals still need to follow certain guidelines. 

Masking regulations are still going to be applied to healthcare settings, jails, shelters, schools and prisons. Federally mandated mask use would also be applied to use in airports and other forms of public transportation. 

Fully vaccinated individuals could be unmasked in indoor gatherings of fewer than 1,000 people. However, unvaccinated individuals are not entitled to the same freedoms, requiring them to wear masks in all indoor public settings. 

“While transmission remains substantial, we need to continue layering on protections,” L.A. County Public Health Director, Barbara Ferrer, said. 

However, recent events and cases have shown little to no improvement. Surge threats still worry officials. The mask mandate will likely not be lifted until next year. A strict date has not been set.