Los Angeles County reinstates indoor mask mandate amid growing COVID-19 cases

Shoppers in a mall wear masks.
In this July 1, 2021, file photo visitors wear masks as they walk in a shopping district, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File
  • Los Angeles County will reinstate an indoor mask mandate for all beginning Saturday.
  • The announcement comes as the county faces a worrisome rise in recent COVID-19 cases.
  • A public health officer said on Thursday that he expects the order to remain in place until conditions improve.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The nation’s largest county will reinstate an indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status amid a troubling increase in COVID-19 cases.

Los Angeles County’s public health officer Dr. Muntu Davis made the announcement at a virtual press conference on Thursday. The new order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Davis said.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” he said.

While some exceptions will apply, including people being allowed to take their masks off while out to eat and drink, the measure will be a return to the county’s precautions before the state officially reopened exactly one month ago.

The announcement comes as LA County faces a rapid increase in recent COVID-19 cases. In the past week, the county reported more than 1,000 new cases each day, according to The Los Angeles Times, marking a more than 250% increase from two weeks earlier.

Davis said Thursday saw 1,537 new cases, noting the county’s recent numbers mark “substantial community transmission.”

Officials are also concerned about the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which prompted public health officials to recommend the same indoor-mask guidance as a precaution two weeks ago.

Davis said he expects the new mandate will remain in place until “improvements” in community transmission start to be observed, but he warned that further measures could become necessary if cases continue to rise.