Morning Brief: Indoor Masks, Hatching Bald Eagles, And Flower Fields
Good morning, L.A. It’s March 4.
If it seems like we just had an update about indoor mask requirements being loosened, that’s because… we did! Only a week ago, L.A. County Public Health officials released a set of new guidelines for businesses detailing how some people, in some circumstances, could go unmasked, if a business allowed it.
At that time, officials estimated that a more sweeping lift of indoor masking requirements would come around mid-March, but here we are on only March 4, and nearly all indoor masking requirements in L.A. County are being lifted, effective today.
Regardless of vaccination status, no one needs to wear a mask indoors anymore, with a handful of exceptions: public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities. Officials said they made the decision based on decreasing rates of transmission in L.A. and lighter strain on area hospitals.
With that said, experts still highly recommend the use of a face mask (of course), especially for older people and those with compromised immune systems.
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Dr. Sam Torbati, co-chair of the emergency medicine department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said changes like this are based on a better understanding of how the virus works and what the risk of community spread now is. He added that decisions about COVID-19 precautions are now beginning to shift from government to individual.
"I think we're getting to a point where mandates and oversight from city and state is going to calm down," Torbati said, "and people will need to make better choices themselves."
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.
What Else You Need To Know Today
- The Jim Fire, which broke out Wednesday in Cleveland National Forest, has burned about 550 acres and caused a towering smoke column visible from L.A. and Orange Counties.
- LAUSD’s new superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, indicated he would settle a lawsuit brought by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which alleges that the district illegally withheld millions of dollars in federal aid for low-income students attending parochial schools.
- At least one bald eagle egg in Big Bear Valley has hatched!
- Distribution of white supremacist propaganda is becoming increasingly coordinated.
- A group of California legislators has crafted potential vaccine laws that would be the most aggressive state approach in the nation.
- Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing a way to compel treatment for people suffering from extreme, untreated psychotic illness or substance abuse and who cannot care for themselves.
- Here are some local organizations helping people in Ukraine.
Before You Go ... This Weekend's Outdoor Pick: Flower Fields (Forever)
Road trip time! The color-coordinated flower fields at Carlsbad Ranch in northern San Diego County are now open daily, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. More than 70 million flowers are set to bloom, including nearly 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus, a flower known for its large, double-petals. The field’s 2022 theme is “Escape Into Color.”
Or, you could: Check out Ozark-related art. Celebrate First Fridays with a night of music, libations, and science. Attend a whale of a festival... or a show for the dogs. Road trip to visit flower fields. And more.