Los Angeles County Drops Mask Mandate for Businesses That Verify Vaccination Status

Written by Vincent Cain

Starting Friday, fully vaccinated individuals in Los Angeles County won’t be required to wear face masks in businesses that verify vaccination status. 

The burden will be on local establishments to verify that all indoor customers are either fully vaccinated or can provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Only those who are fully vaccinated will be permitted to remove their masks, those with recent negative COVID-19 tests must still wear a mask indoors if they are not vaccinated, unless they are actively eating or drinking. These same guidelines will apply to employees in indoor workplaces.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement, “While there are powerful tools that impede virus transmission, none are perfect, which is why we often need to use a variety of safety measures to reduce transmission.” Ferrer called the move a transition to less strict requirements, stating, “As transmission drops and there is less virus circulating, some tools may afford significant protections against the very worst risks associated with COVID. Because vaccines are one of these tools, with lower rates of hospital admissions and COVID hospitalizations, it is appropriate in settings verifying vaccination or negative test status, that we transition to strongly recommending masking instead of requiring masking.”

This easing of COVID-19 related requirements comes after the State of California’s mask mandate expired on February 15, but Los Angeles County’s mandate remained in place. LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn joined the push to end the mask mandate last week, commenting on the amount of people at the recent Super Bowl in Inglewood openly ignoring the county’s masking requirements. Among those caught unmasked at the Super Bowl? Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Photo Cred: Damian Dovarganes / AP