These cities won’t enforce an L.A. County mask mandate

Though Los Angeles County is just days away from potentially imposing another universal indoor public mask mandate, several cities within the county say they will not enforce one if implemented, or enact one of their own.

Officials from the cities of Pasadena, Long Beach and Beverly Hills have opposed a new mask mandate in a spate of COVID-19 cases fueled by the hyperinfectious Omicron subvariants.

“The Pasadena Department of Health has determined that rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the jurisdiction have been declining for approximately 10 days and local hospital admissions have not increased further during that time,” Pasadena health officials said in a statement from Tuesday. “The Pasadena City Health Commissioner will not issue a general mandate for indoor masks at this time.”

The Long Beach Health and Human Services Department released a similar statement on Tuesday.

“Despite rising cases, hospitalizations among Long Beach residents remain stable, area hospitals have adequate capacity and deaths remain low,” Long Beach health officials said. “As such, regarding masking, the City of Long Beach will continue to comply with the California Department of Health and Human Services (CDPH), which strongly encourages, but does not require, masking in most cases.”

Both Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health departments, so they can make individual decisions about aligning their local mask rules with LA County’s.

Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse previously dismissed the possibility of enforcing an indoor mask mandate and called a special meeting Monday night to discuss the prospect of new LA County mask rules. The Bosse-led council voted unanimously not to use resources to enforce a mandate.

“I think it’s our job to lead and I support the power of choice,” Bosse said in a statement. “Our job is to be proactive and public about what we believe. This is a united city council and community that cares about health. We are not where we were in 2020 and now we need to move forward as a community and be part of the solution.”

dr LA County public health director Barbara Ferrer said the county will reissue an indoor mask mandate if it reaches the high COVID-19 community level set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and there two would stay weeks in a row.

On July 14, the county entered the high COVID-19 community level and stayed there last week. This means that a new mandate could be implemented on Friday.

The department is expected to announce a decision on the mandate on Thursday.

The high-level placement means the county has at least 10 new weekly coronavirus-positive hospital admissions per 100,000 residents and significant community transmission.

However, health officials suggested that the recent drop in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations could result in a delay in the mask mandate.

“It’s important to note that we had three instances this spring and summer where we saw falls in cases followed by increases shortly thereafter,” Ferrer told the county board of directors Tuesday. “It is therefore important that we remain cautious and prepared to build in additional safeguards.”

Ferrer previously said the county could pause a mandate if transmission had slowed significantly.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the average number of daily new cases for the past week in LA County was 6,014, down 11% from the previous week when the daily number of new cases was 6,742, according to the county health department.

Hospital stays also appear to be stabilizing. Over the past seven days, the average number of hospitalized patients per day was 1,262, similar to the seven-day average of 1,243 a week ago.

“I sincerely hope that this current spike will subside soon, but in the meantime I ask everyone to be careful and look out for each other and thank the many who are doing everything to slow the spread. ‘ Ferrer said in a statement. These cities won’t enforce an L.A. County mask mandate

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