Another month since California’s reopening, another step back to more restrictions. In July it meant the return of L.A. County’s indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status. And now, it means the return of masks in some crowded outdoor settings.
On Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health updated its health officer order with the mandate that all attendees at outdoor mega events (ones with more than 10,000 people) need to wear masks except when eating or drinking, regardless of their vaccination status.
That means masks will now be required at most music festivals, massive amphitheaters like the Hollywood Bowl, and just about every professional sport that’s in season right now, including games at Dodger Stadium and SoFi Stadium. The new rules are set to take effect Thursday, August 19 at 11:59pm.
The county was previously following the state’s less-strict guidelines, which recommended masks for unvaccinated individuals but didn’t require them across the board. Now, though, you’ll need to wear a mask again except when “actively eating or drinking,” which basically means you’ll have to eat at a table or counter and put your mask back on immediately after you’ve finished chewing or sipping. It’ll ultimately be up to the venue to enforce the rules (and to provide masks to those who, let’s say, “forget” one).
The move comes as the highly-transmissible Delta variant has brought Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations to levels not seen since February, toward the end of the county’s winter surge. It also comes as both the City and County of Los Angeles consider requiring proof of vaccination at indoor spaces; for now at outdoor mega events, a vaccine card or negative test result are still just “strongly recommended” and not necessarily required.
Only L.A.’s biggest venues should be affected by the revised order. The Hollywood Bowl is the only non-sports outdoor venue that crosses that 10,000-person threshold; the Greek Theatre sits comfortably below that, as does something like Cinespia. (It’s possible that some smaller venues may decide to require masks anyway.) But all of L.A.’s major sports stadiums hold more than 10,000 people, which means masks will be required for Dodgers, Rams, Chargers, Galaxy and LAFC games. The same goes for basically all music festivals (some of which have taken an extra step in requiring vaccinations).