LA County still requires masks inside businesses
AFTER a year of wearing masks, fully vaccinated individuals can forgo face coverings when outdoors or in most indoor settings, according to new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The relaxed measures were announced on Thursday, May 13, paving the way for safely resuming pre-pandemic activities.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do,” President Joe Biden said on Thursday at the White House Rose Garden.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said at the briefing.
However, mask-wearing will continue to be upheld on public transportation like planes, buses and trains and crowded settings like hospitals. Those who are not fully vaccinated should also continue to wear their masks, especially indoors.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated, wear your mask for your own protection and the protection of the people who also have not been vaccinated yet,” Biden said.
In Los Angeles County, masks are still required inside businesses, such as grocery stores and restaurants, or in crowded outdoor and indoor venues. Physical distancing requirements at such workplaces will also continue.
County public health officials said they are reviewing the latest guidance “in order to make sensible adjustments” at the local level.
“Until there’s been a change in that, it’s really important for us not to jump the gun and create an unintended consequence where we’re creating risk where we didn’t need to,” County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
While California hasn’t fully adopted the CDC’s new guidance, the state previously said Californians can ditch the mask in most outdoor settings, except large gatherings like live sporting events and performances.
Earlier this week, the CDC’s vaccine safety review panel and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup gave the green light for individuals 12-15 years old to receive the Pfizer vaccine, following the Food and Drug Administration’s expansion to the age group. About 2.1 million residents in this young age group are considered eligible for the vaccine.
Statewide, over 15 million Californians are considered fully vaccinated.