California will lift COVID-19 vaccine and negative test requirements for large indoor events like concerts and games starting April 1, state officials announced last week.
Verification of full vaccination against COVID-19 and pre-entry negative test results will be strongly recommended by the state — but no longer required — at indoor “mega” events with more than 1,000 attendees.
Masks are strongly recommended at mega events, but are also not mandated by the state.
The state is shedding the vaccine verification requirement as California emerges from an omicron-fueled surge that sent numbers skyrocketing during the winter.
“This shift acknowledges that while case rates and hospitalizations are declining statewide from their peak during the Omicron surge, Indoor Mega Events continue to involve several factors that increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” the state health department said while announcing the change.
Local jurisdictions can choose to keep the requirement in place, and so can different venues.
Los Angeles County, however, has announced it plans to align with the state and lift the requirements for indoor events.
The move was expected since the county has been easing COVID-19-related restrictions along with the state in recent weeks.
Last month, California dropped its indoor mask mandate at most places, shifting to an “endemic” approach to the coronavirus that emphasizes prevention and quick reaction to outbreaks over mandates and closures.
Masks became strongly recommended for unvaccinated people in most indoor settings like shops, gyms, bars and movie theaters, but were no longer mandated by the state.
Students and teachers were also allowed to go mask-free at schools.
But even as California eases restrictions, officials stressed the need to react fast if COVID-19 numbers begin to climb again.
“California must be vigilant to maintain situational awareness through surveillance and be ready to pause or reinstate a higher level of protective mitigation recommendations or requirements,” the state’s Department of Public Health wrote in announcing the updated guidance for mega events.