Los Angeles Does a 180, Requires Masks Again

Indoors, whether vaccinated or not
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2021 12:02 AM CDT
Updated Jul 16, 2021 7:06 AM CDT
Los Angeles County Brings Back the Mask Mandate
In this July 1, 2021, file photo visitors wear masks as they walk in a shopping district in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Starting at 11:59pm on Saturday, everyone in Los Angeles County will be required to wear a mask while indoors in public spaces, whether they're vaccinated or not. The California county announced the reversal on Thursday, exactly one month after the statewide mask mandate was dropped, ABC 7 reports. Just before that reopening date of June 15, California's positivity rate was at its lowest point of the pandemic, 0.7%. But thanks in part to cases rising in LA County as the Delta variant surges, the rate is now at 3%, CNN reports. For seven consecutive days, new cases have numbered more than 1,000 per day in the county, and on Thursday, they hit their highest number since early March: 1,537.

The county's health officer said the area is simply "not where we need to be" with regard to vaccinations, and "waiting to do something would be too late," CBS 2 reports. Statewide, more than 60% of residents are fully vaccinated, and in LA County the percentage is 61% for those over age 16 but closer to 51% for all residents of any age, Deadline reports. As of earlier this week, none of the county's hospitalized COVID-19 patients had been vaccinated. Officials say some exemptions from the mandate will be allowed, similar to what was in place before California reopened. Sacramento County made a similar move Thursday, though it's just recommending that masks be worn indoors. Yolo County did the same, NBC Bay Area reports, and Alameda County said it may do so soon. (Read more Los Angeles stories.)

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