LOS Angeles County has dropped plans to reissue the universal mask mandate as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have declined over the past week, LA County Public Health said Thursday, July 28.
“As I noted last week, any indication that the county will soon move to the medium community level would be good reason not to move forward with universal indoor masking,” said the director of public health of the LA County, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, during a briefing on Thursday.
She added: “It will be a welcome relief if this current surge has peaked.”
The warning for a mask reinstatement mandate came on July 14 when the county reported a “high” level of transmission, according to a recommended system of measures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Although the county currently remains in the high category, Ferrer said the county is likely to drop to “medium” levels as pending local data is collected.
As reported in the Asian newspaperLA County Public Health said it would not reissue the mask mandate — affecting many restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, educational institutions and retail stores — if conditions improve.
Recent increases in positive cases over the summer have raised concerns about whether or not the county will revert to early pandemic protocols. The spread of the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 and the outbreak of monkeypox in LA County have exacerbated the possibility of stricter public safety mandates.
Previously, several jurisdictions — Beverly Hills, El Segundo, Pasadena and Long Beach — announced they would not adopt an indoor mask mandate even if one were implemented countywide.
Critics of the mask mandate — including some members of the LA County Board of Supervisors — argue that imposing masking requirements shouldn’t be the first step in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
“I hope we can now move from this heightened focus on masking mandates to what really matters – focusing on promoting vaccine effectiveness and boosters, improving access to COVID treatments -19 and continuing to educate our county. residents on the benefits of masking,” LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement Thursday. “I’m comfortable leaving that decision in the very able hands of the public.”
Businesses can still choose to require masks in their surroundings as they have been throughout the pandemic, and masks are still required in health care facilities, homeless shelters, recovery centers. cooling, prisons and airports.
Public health experts like Ferrer still recommend wearing masks in highly concentrated public spaces to avoid getting sick.