Los Angeles County’s Indoor Mask Order Goes Into Effect: What It Means For You

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At 11:59 p.m. Saturday night an order issued by Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis went into effect that “requires face masks to be worn by all persons, regardless of vaccination status while in all indoor public settings and businesses.”

Dr. Davis’s health officer order maintains that “universal indoor masking is the least disruptive and most effective measure to take while increasing vaccination rates; this is an important safety directive that can be implemented without impacting normal business capacity and operations.”

The order explicitly states that masks must now be worn in, among other places, the following indoor settings:

-Movie theaters
-Retail settings
-Offices
-Restaurants (masks may be removed to eat and drink)
-Healthcare settings
-Meetings
-On public transit
-Indoor “Mega events,” such as concerts, with more than 5,000 attendees
-At outdoor “Mega events” of 10,000+ people, masks must be worn in areas where “50% of the structure has adjacent impermeable walls”
-Indoors at K-12 schools, childcare centers
-Inside transportation hubs, such as airports and bus stations
-In correctional centers and homeless shelters

The order puts the onus on businesses to inform patrons of the need to wear a mask and require all guests to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. It also says businesses cannot prevent people from wearing masks if they choose to.

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There are some exceptions to the indoor masking mandate, they include:

-Children under age 2. Most children ages 2 to 8 can safely wear a mask with adult supervision.
-People who are cannot safely wear a mask, such as someone who is incapacitated
-Workers in situations where a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty
-Anyone instructed not to wear a mask by their medical provider

However, the L.A. County Department of Public Health stressed that an underlying health condition is not an exemption in and of itself. For example, the department’s page on masking says that “most people with underlying medical conditions, including those with asthma can and should wear a mask, unless instructed not to by their doctor. Wearing a mask does not reduce a person’s oxygen supply or cause a build-up of carbon dioxide.”

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