Los Angeles Officials Discuss Lifting Mask Mandate If Progress Continues – Deadline

For the first time on Tuesday, Los Angeles County public health officials publicly entertained at length the possibility of lifting the region’s mask mandate, at least in part.

“With lower transmission and with more people vaccinated we are hopeful that we will be able to lift the mask mandate in settings where there is a large gathering and we know people are vaccinated,” said County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer. She quickly qualified that statement by saying it assumes Covid numbers continue to fall and that there is no new, more powerful variant of the virus.

“When we introduced the mask mandate in June,” she continued, “it was related to a higher rate of transmission.” Logically, said Ferrer, a corresponding fall in rates should prompt consideration of the lifting of that mandate. “I do see that lower transmission and more people vaccinated, we’re going to be in a different space.”

Her comments were made at a meeting of the County Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Holly Mitchell followed up by noting that the rates of infections “has not lifted equally.”

Ferrer agreed. “You’re absolutely right, it’s an average,” she explained of the 7 day average rate of infections. “And it’s driven by the fact that there is so much testing going on at our schools,” where there is less infection, generally.

“We have pockets where transmission is still a concern,” continued Ferrer. “Those pockets are located in communities where there are lower vaccination rates.”

Given that, and given the county’s experience with the 2020 winter surge she said, “We do have to stay very focused on getting unvaccinated people their doses.”

Ferrer gave no hint of a timeline for lifting the county’s public health officer order mandating masks in movie theaters, large events and restaurants.

She did however say,”As Halloween approaches and Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaches, we hope that we can plan for gatherings and maybe even travel.”

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