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Morning Brief: Indoor Masks, Medi-Cal Reform, And The Hollywood Bowl

A large red and blue sign outside a grocery store shows a stop sign, a face mask, and large block letters reading "masks required." An older woman walks into the store wearing a face mask, short white hair, a white dress shirt and jeans.
A grocery store enforcing the wearing of masks in L.A. on July 23, 2021.
(Chris Delmas
AFP via Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 16.

You may have heard reports that indoor masking requirements are being lifted. Or that they aren’t. Or, at some moment in the near future, they may or may not be.

Well, we’re here to help clear things up. Here’s what’s going on: starting today, vaccinated Californians in most of the state are no longer required to wear a mask indoors. But — and here’s the big caveat — the requirement isn’tbeing lifted in L.A. County.

In short, that means that as long as you’re in a business or other public indoor space within county lines, you do have to wear a mask until further notice. Yes, that is despite the state’s new easing of restrictions.

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L.A. County health officials have been under pressure to lift mask requirements ever since San Francisco did so earlier this month. But Barbara Ferrer, the county’s Public Health Director, has been clear: until cases in L.A. drop, mask requirements will remain in place. 

The mark we have to hit is called “moderate transmission.”

The Centers for Disease Control defines this transmission level as 10 to 50 cases per 100,000 people, or a positivity rate between 5% and 8%.

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“I think it's possible to get to moderate transmission again fairly quickly,” Ferrer said late last week. “Our case rate is dropping by an average of 3.5% every day. And if we can maintain that pace, we'd reach moderate transmission in 25 to 30 days.”

With all that said, some masking rules have been relaxed this week in L.A. County. Masks are no longer required outdoors at child care facilities, K-12 schools and outdoor mega events. And even with the California requirements lifted, masking indoors is still encouraged by health officials. 

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The husband and 9-year-old son of Halyna Hutchins have brought a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin, alleging Baldwin’s fatal shooting of the Rust cinematographer was a result of negligence and safety violations. 
  • The California State University system has reapplied for funding to build more affordable student housing.
  • California’s first-of-its-kind Medi-Cal “whole person care” reform aims to help low-income patients navigate problems like homelessness, poverty and substance abuse.
  • A study out of Tennessee found a universal pre-K program not only didn't help students, but might have hurt them. The study could have implications for California’s planned public pre-K expansion.
  • Nike's Cortez sneaker has deep L.A. roots, having made its deepest inroads within Southern California's Black and Hispanic communities.

Before You Go ... The Hollywood Bowl Is Back

Photo of the Hollywood Bowl by martysalgs via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Time for another season of Trader Joe’s snack baskets, picnic blankets, music under the stars … and nightmare-ish parking, but who wants to think about that? The Hollywood Bowl announced its 2022 season lineup, and it features artists including Halsey, Boyz II Men and Flying Lotus, plus plenty of jazz and classical concerts. Packages are on sale now, and individual tickets go on sale in May.

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