A new public mandate would have taken effect on Friday if it had been implemented. Health leaders in the county said they would reinstate the rule if COVID cases remained in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “high” rating for two weeks in a row.
The mandate would have meant that anyone two years old and over would have had to wear a mask inside places such as gyms, educational centers, kids’ programs, venues, restaurants, shared office locations, stores, and more.
Masks must still be worn inside public transportation in Los Angeles, which includes taxis and airports, and health care locations, prisons, and other areas where they are required, per the Los Angeles Times.
According to the CDC’s website, Los Angeles County is still in a “high” community level. The health department, however, has said its numbers show that the weekly COVID-positive rate of hospital admissions has dropped lower than the high level.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said local authorities will wait to examine information more, using its own, more recent measurements, per KTLA. The outlet noted that Ferrer was hopeful that the county would go down in its level, and so they decided to hold off on bringing back the rule.
“Since most of our local data trends have just begun to decline, we decided to take a closer look at the hospital admissions rate using our own data … so that we can get a more precise sense of where we might be headed,” Ferrer said Thursday, noting, “We will be pausing and not moving forward at this time.”
Ferrer suggested last week that a mask mandate might not be carried out right away.
“Should we see sustained decreases in cases, or the rate of hospital admissions moves closer to the threshold for medium, we will pause implementation of universal indoor masking as we closely monitor our transmission rates,” she explained to the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
COVID cases appear to be dropping around the state, the Los Angeles Times reported, noting that the most recent information showed California with an average of 17,000 cases per day for the past week, which was a 17% drop from the week before.
The most recent surge in cases has not been as severe as those in the past, leading many to push back on such a requirement. “I think now that we’re seeing that fewer people are getting serious cases of COVID, they just don’t really believe this mandate is necessary,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said this week, per the Times.
But Ferrer said she thought a new rule would protect people. “No one is suggesting that we need to wear masks forever; rather, that [there] are likely to be short periods of time when it makes sense,” she reportedly said this week.
Earlier this week, Chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Kathryn Barger (R) and the Beverly Hills City Council publicly came out against reinstating the indoor mask mandate.
Barger issued a public statement against the mandate, and the Beverly Hills City Council unanimously decided not to put any resources toward enforcing the mandate if the county health officials decided to bring it back.
Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse initiated a special gathering to talk about the city’s options.
“I feel it is our job to lead and I support the power of choice,” Bosse said. “Our job is to be proactive and public about what we believe. This is a united City Council and community that cares about health. We are not where we were in 2020, and now we need to move forward as a community and be part of the solution.”