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LA County Loosens Mask Requirements For Vaccinated People, Allows Indoor Arcades And Playgrounds To Reopen

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An updated Health Officer Order went into effect Friday in Los Angeles County loosening mask requirements for vaccinated people and allowing indoor arcades and playgrounds to reopen with modifications.

According to the updated order, fully vaccinated people can gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask when alone, with members of their household or when in a small group of people who are not fully vaccinated and not at high risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19.

People must still wear face coverings — regardless of vaccination status — at crowded outdoor events, in crowded spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, in indoor public settings, at worksites and businesses and in any setting where face coverings are required by the facility or business.

Those who are not yet fully vaccinated, including those who have only received one dose of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, will still need to continue wearing face coverings in all settings when they are around people not in their household.

"While these changes are appropriate and science-based, they can create unintended risk if individuals not yet fully vaccinated discontinue wearing their masks in situations where they may become infected," Public Health said Tuesday in a statement following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidance. "More than 50% of the people living in Los Angeles County are not yet fully vaccinated and intermingling with others who are not vaccinated and unmasked increases the possibility of virus transmission."

The latest order also removes limitations on operating hours for bars and says fully vaccinated employees at food service facilities now have the option of wearing a face shield in addition to a face mask when in close contact with customers — though a mask is still required. Employers must verify and document an employee's full vaccination status if they choose not to wear a face shield.

It also allows for indoor arcades and indoor playgrounds to reopen at 25% maximum capacity with safety modifications.

Public Health also said in-person behavioral health therapeutic and education support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Patient Education groups could resume typical participant levels with specified safety modifications.

On Friday, health officials reported 405 newly confirmed cases and 21 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,233,060 total cases and 23,890 deaths. There were 420 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 23% of whom were being treated in intensive care units.

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