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New County Mask Guidance Reflects CDC Updates, Changing Landscape

Apr 30, 2021 03:13PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Got your shot? Great!

Manhattan Beach, you can start unmasking yourself. 

Following the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines released earlier this week, the L.A. County Department of Public Health has begun lifting county restrictions on mask-wearing for vaccinated individuals.

The city of Manhattan Beach is expected to make corresponding adjustments in its own rules at its May 4 City Council meeting.

CDC Guidelines Updated

On April 27, the CDC issued new guidance indicating that vaccinated people can do many outdoor activities in uncrowded spaces unmasked - including attending small gatherings with unvaccinated people, dining outdoors with friends from multiple households, and walking, running or cycling outdoors.

However, the CDC said that fully vaccinated individuals (two-plus weeks after the final vaccination) are required to mask up at crowded outdoor events, like live performances, parades, or sports events.

The Los Angeles County Health Officer echoed that guidance on Thursday by updating the county's COVID-19 health order. The updated document allows fully vaccinated people to gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask when alone, when with members of their household, when with a small group of fully vaccinated people, and when with a small group of people who are not fully vaccinated and not at high risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19.

According to the updated L.A. County order, vaccinated people must still wear a mask 1) at crowded outdoor events, such as live entertainment/performances, parades, or sporting events, among others; 2) in crowded spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained and it is not known if everyone in the space is fully vaccinated; 3) in indoor public settings, unless otherwise permitted; 4) at worksites and businesses, and 5) in any setting where masking is required by the facility operator or business.

Fully vaccinated people engaging in social activities in public settings are urged to continue to avoid crowds, avoid poorly ventilated spaces, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash their hands or using hand sanitizer frequently.

Thursday's updates to the county health order also include other changes, such as allowing indoor showers and locker rooms to reopen at gyms and fitness establishments with capacity modifications.

Additionally, for bars, the county health department has removed the limitations on hours of operation.

'Yellow Tier' Approaching With Declining COVID Cases

L.A. County has remained in the California's orange tier of COVID-19 infections for more than three weeks and now has met the (lower) yellow tier’s criteria for one week, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Health.

If, as anticipated, Los Angeles County continues to meet the state’s yellow tier criteria for one more week, the county could enter into the yellow tier in the middle of next week.

Moving into the yellow tier would allow for increases in capacity in many sectors, and would allow bars to begin providing indoor service at 25% capacity.

All of these changes would still require safety modifications, including masking, distancing and infection control to reduce the risk of transmission, according to the county health department.

The sectors with increases in capacity limits include amusement parks and fairs, gyms and fitness centers, yoga studios, private events, bars, hotels and short-term lodging rentals, private gatherings, breweries, indoor playgrounds, restaurants, card rooms and racetracks, indoor and outdoor live events and performances, wineries and tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, and museums, zoos, and aquariums.

If the county moves to the yellow tier next week, the health department will post a modified health order on Wednesday, May 5 to go into effect on Thursday, May 6.

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