As COVID-19 metrics continue to decline, Los Angeles County is planning to ease the current outdoor mask mandate as soon as hospitalizations fall under 2,500.

Once the county hits that metric for COVID-19 hospitalizations for seven straight days, Los Angeles County Public Health will advise that masks will no longer be needed for outdoor mega events, or outdoor school areas.

“Masking will continue to be a key part of the ‘post-surge’ COVID-19 strategy,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a media briefing Thursday. “When L.A. County moves into the post-surge period… masking will no longer be required while outdoors while outdoors, at outdoor mega events, or at outdoor spaces in childcare and K-12 schools.”

However, masks will still be required for most indoor spaces until the county sees two consecutive weeks of “moderate transmission” as defined by the CDC and no reports of COVID-19 variants of concern in circulation. The CDC defines moderate transmission as an positivity rate below 8%.

Employers will also still be required to provide employees with medical grade or higher masks until the county has reached “low transmission,” which is a positivity rate below 5%.

As of this writing, the county has seen two straight days of positivity rates below 8%, but would need to continue that average for two weeks in order to ease the mask mandate for indoor spaces.

Both California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti faced public scrutiny this week, as photos circulated of them not adhering to the mask mandates while attending the Rams NFC Championship Game at SoFi stadium in Inglewood.

Newsom responded by saying aside from the photo and while drinking, he was “very judicious” about wearing his mask.

Similarly, Garcetti said he only removed his mask during photos and that holding his breath gave him “a zero percent chance of infection from that.”

LA Weekly