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LA County's Mask Mandate Could End For Everyone, Regardless Of Vaccination Status, As Soon As Friday

A man wears a black face mask as he walks past a sign posted on a storefront that depicts a blue mask and reads 'We are wearing masks to protect YOU! Please wear yours to protect US! Stop the spread of COVID-19'
Los Angeles ended its indoor mask mandate on Friday for those who are fully vaccinated and may soon lift it for unvaccinated people.
(Frederic J. Brown
AFP via Getty Images)
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L.A County may drop its indoor mask mandate for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — this Friday.

That would be weeks earlier than previously expected and it would put the county in line with the state, which lifted its indoor masking requirement for unvaccinated people Tuesday.


Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County's public health director, said she's waiting for the CDC's latest update on transmission, which is due out on Thursday. The county's expected to drop from "high" to "medium" or "low" transmission. If that happens, Ferrer says the county will drop the indoor mask mandate the following day but face coverings will still be recommended.

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"We, along with the state and CDC, continue to urge individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, to keep their masks on in public indoor settings until there's less risk for those most vulnerable," Ferrer said.

Masks will continue to be required indoors at schools until March 12, though individual districts can opt to extend that.

Face coverings will remain mandatory on public transit, at airports and in health care facilities.

At the same time, even as COVID transmission falls and masking requirements are lifted, public health officials are still "strongly" recommending face coverings indoors.

Dr. Kimberly Shriner, an infectious disease expert at Pasadena's Huntington Hospital, says masks should continue to be a part of our daily lives.

"I will probably wear a mask every time I go into the supermarket, because it protects me from other infectious diseases," Shriner told our newsroom's public affairs show, AirTalk, which airs on 89.3 KPCC.

"It protects individuals that I encounter from anything that I may be carrying," she said. "I work at a hospital, so I could potentially have something. And so I think that it should sort of be part of our wardrobe, if you will."

Dr. Shriner says it's also important to keep in mind that COVID isn't going away. Transmission may go up again and more new variants may emerge.

What questions do you have about the coronavirus and/or how it’s affecting your life in Southern California?