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L.A. County Mask Mandates Might Be Back by End of July

Patrons sitting outside in the patio of a restaurant with one table being occupied by couple of large stuffed toy bears

If you haven’t worn a face mask in a while, it’s likely you might be required when indoor dining.

Los Angeles County has entered the CDC’s “high” community level for Covid-19. If we stay within that range for two consecutive weeks, then we’ll see a mask mandate return for all public indoor settings on July 29.

The mandate’s return isn’t quite official yet, but L.A. County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said it’s “much more likely” that we’ll stay within the “high” level for two weeks than return back to “medium” within that time. That’s because L.A.’s placement is based on a rise in hospitalizations (currently 10.5 per 100,000 people), which tend to lag increases in cases by about two weeks.

With Covid-19 spreading like wildfire, it’s no surprise that public health officials are recommending that Angelenos wear a well-fitted respirator mask. But what kind of mask should you get?

A well-fitted N95, KN95 or KF94 respirator is your best bet, followed by double masks (a medical mask with a cloth one over it), fitted medical masks, and cloth or non-fitted medical masks in order of effectiveness.

But these recommendations aren’t just about preventing yourself from getting sick—they’re about keeping others healthy as well. L.A.’s rise in hospitalizations comes as highly-transmissible Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 quickly spread through the county. As of the end of June, nearly half of all reported Covid-19 cases were BA.5, and that share is likely even greater now (as is the number of overall cases, which are surely undercounted due to the prevalence of home testing).

Looking ahead, per some previously laid out guidelines L.A.’s mask mandate will expire after it meets the “medium” level thresholds for two straight weeks. But if public health sees a steady decrease

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