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LA County To End Outdoor Mask Mandate

A group of people wearing medical face masks stand in a line. A woman in the center looks at the camera. There's a colorful art piece in the background that says "Los Angeles."
People wear face coverings at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles.
(Mario Tama
/
Getty Images)
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Los Angeles County will lift outdoor masking requirements at mega-events, schools and childcare centers starting Wednesday, Feb. 16.

The change comes because the number of COVID-positive patients in local hospitals is going down quickly, and it’s the first step in what the public health department calls its “post-surge” blueprint.

The next hurdle will be a little harder to clear. The county's indoor masking rules will remain in place for several more weeks, even as the state lifts its universal indoor mask mandate for vaccinated people.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn said she’s losing patience with the local mandate, especially after seeing so many maskless people at Sunday’s Super Bowl.

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“The longer we drag our feet on lifting the indoor mask mandate, the more out-of-step we get from the state, and the more trust that we lose from our public,” she said.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger also wants the county to align with the state on masking.

Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting that indoor masking rules may be loosened up sooner in places that have other “layers of protection,” such as a proof of vaccination requirement.

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