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L.A. County is once again mandating that residents and visitors wear masks indoors in public places amid growing concern over the COVID-19 Delta variant, regardless of individuals’ vaccine status.
The requirement is expected to apply to such business establishments as movie theaters.
The new health order will take into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 17, county health officer Dr. Muntu Davis said Thursday. Exceptions will apply, with full details to appear on a Health Officer Order by July 16.
The news comes as L.A. County is facing a resurgence in COVID cases, as the Delta variant gains steam. One month since California reopened June 15, the county is registering almost 10 times the number of COVID cases it saw right before the reopening. On Thursday, the county reported 1,537 new cases, and from June 7-14, the county noted an average of 1,077 new cases per day.
Throughout the pandemic, movie theaters have abided by local mandates in terms of masks. Cinemas in L.A. County have lifted face-covering rules in recent weeks for those who are vaccinated, while urging those who aren’t to wear a mask. Exhibitors didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, but theaters will no doubt follow the direction of county officials.
One June 28, L.A. County advised that residents start wearing masks in public places again, but didn’t made it mandatory. “Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits,” officials said in a statement at the time.
According to the public health department, slightly more than 69 percent of Angelenos over the age of 16 have at least had one dose of the vaccine. Slightly more than 5 million people have been fully vaccinated in the county.
Pamela McClintock contributed to this report.
3:30 p.m.: Updated with detail about movie theaters.
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