LA County to lift capacity limits, physical distancing on June 15

Photo by Jack Finnigan on Unsplash

IN less than three weeks, Los Angeles County is set to revert to pre-pandemic life.

The county plans to lift capacity limits and physical distancing at most settings, like restaurants and retail stores, on June 15. The region will also follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state that fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear a mask in public in most instances. Masks will still be required on public transit, airplanes and when visiting health care settings.

“Almost all sectors and businesses will be able to return to usual operations with some limited exceptions,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Monday, May 24.

The county’s decision comes after the state announced on May 21 that the limits and distancing guidelines could be scrapped as more residents continue to be vaccinated.

The state said bars, restaurants and grocery stores can operate at full indoor and outdoor capacity.

Meanwhile, physical distancing will not be required at public and private events.

Adhering to the Golden State’s directive, the county will enforce restrictions around large gatherings, sporting events and concerts, which include requiring attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before an “indoor mega event” that has 5,000 or more attendees.

The same measures are “strong recommendation[s] for outdoor events with more than 10,000 people, Ferrer said.

These types of events will no longer have capacity limits.

“Regardless of whether these events have assigned seating or not, and whether they’re general admission or ticketed, they are considered higher risk for COVID transmission,” she said. “This is because they involve attendees spending extensive time physically close to people from outside their households, and potentially from outside the state.”

The county is also slated to lift its travel restrictions on June 15 to align with the CDC and state, meaning travelers coming in will no longer have to follow the quarantine measures.

Ferrer said there will be separate guidance for schools, health care settings and other high-risk areas to be announced before June 15.

County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis said the improvements come as hospitalizations remain low and the “willingness of residents across the county to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

As of Monday, half of county residents 16 and older are now considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Public Health department said 72% of seniors 65 and older are fully vaccinated.  The county is also seeing 28% of teens 16-17 years old and 46% of people 16-64 years old fully vaccinated.

The same day, Public Health confirmed four new deaths and 139 new cases of COVID-19, marking 1,238,919 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County and a total of 24,175 deaths. Currently 319 individuals remain hospitalized, the department said. The daily test positivity rate is 0.4%.

Anyone 12 and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated. To find a vaccination site near you, to make an appointment at vaccination sites, visit:  www.VaccinateLACounty.com  (English). If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or you’re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status, the county reminded.

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