L.A. County requiring masks at large outdoor events like concerts, sports games starting Thursday

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Masks will be required at large outdoor events in Los Angeles County starting Thursday — regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, according to an updated health officer order.

Guests will have to wear the face masks at large events like music festivals, parades and sporting events, except while actively eating or drinking. People must put their masks back on right away when they’re done, the order says.

The new rule goes into effect 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

People in L.A. County already had to wear masks at public indoor settings like stores, offices and theaters. The updated rules go a step further as the county continues to see increased coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.

Mega events are those with large crowds greater than 5,000 attendees indoors and 10,000 outdoors.

Such large gatherings are considered to create a higher risk of coronavirus transmission, according to health authorities. State officials were recommending that guests at mega outdoor events be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or show proof of a negative coronavirus test.

Following L.A. County’s announcement, SoFi Stadium officials said they will be implementing the new mask mandate at the L.A. Rams and Chargers games this weekend.

“All guests will be asked to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, indoors and outdoors, unless actively eating or drinking,” SoFi Stadium officials told KTLA in a statement.

A Dodger Stadium spokesman said fans will receive emails emphasizing the new mask rule on the day of the game.

L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer had indicated last week during a Board of Supervisors meeting that the Health Department was considering mandating masks at large outdoor events where crowds are “unavoidable.”

“If you don’t know who you’re around, and you’re outdoors, and it’s super crowded, you should put on that face covering,” she said. 

Ferrer said masking up in crowds is a “sensible precaution.” 

“We see the need to continue to try to reduce risk wherever possible, while not impeding — as much as possible — our full reopening,” Ferrer told county supervisors.

The new safeguards come as the county sees a new coronavirus surge that threatens the mass reopening that came on June 15, following months of decreasing coronavirus rates after the arrival of vaccines.

Last week, L.A. County reported an average rate of more than 3,000 coronavirus cases every day.

So far, the county is responding to the surge with mask mandates — though government officials are considering implementing vaccine proof requirements.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors also voted last week to look into options for requiring residents to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter certain indoor spaces in unincorporated county areas.

The next day, the city of Los Angeles moved toward requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations indoors at restaurants, gyms, stores and other spaces. The City Council voted to direct the city attorney to draft an ordinance requiring patrons to have at least one dose of the vaccine to be able to enter the indoor public spaces.

Some restaurants, bars and event organizers have already started requiring customers to show proof that they are vaccinated against COVID-19, or present a negative coronavirus test if they’re unvaccinated.

Goldenvoice, the music events company that puts on Coachella and Stagecoach, will require proof of full vaccination for concertgoers and event staff at all of its clubs, venues and festivals.

And the Hollywood Pantages Theatre is also requiring proof of full vaccination to attend all “Hamilton” shows through Oct. 10.

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