With COVID-19 transmission falling, face masks will no longer be required on buses, trains and other mass transit vehicles in Los Angeles County starting Friday, nor will they be mandated at airports and other transportation hubs.
It is not clear whether Long Beach, which has its own health department, will follow suit. The city still requires masks to be worn in transportation hubs as of the most recent update to its health order in April.
In Los Angeles County face coverings will only be “strongly recommended” on transit vehicles and hubs.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said this will remain the case as long as the county stays in the federal government’s “low” COVID activity level and the weekly infection rate remains below 100 new cases per 100,000 residents.
The most recent data reported Thursday showed the county had a weekly case rate per 100,000 residents of 98, and Long Beach’s was 104.
Ferrer said if the county’s the rate rises above 100 new infections per 100,000 residents, the masks will again be mandated on transit vehicles. Long Beach officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The change to the transit masking rule will coincide with Friday’s overall easing of mask rules in the state and county. The easing means that masks will no longer be required in correctional facilities, homeless shelters or cooling centers.
Los Angeles County will also lower its general indoor masking guidance from “strongly recommended” to “individual preference.”
Masks, however, will continue to be required in health-care, long-term care and adult/senior care facilities. Individual businesses and venues will also be permitted to require masks indoors if they choose to do so.
People considered at higher risk of infection or severe illness should also consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor public places, officials said.
People who begin exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus are also required to wear a mask for 10 days, under county guidelines. People who were positive for the virus but are eligible to leave isolation after six days following a negative test must also wear a mask if they are returning to work or school.
The county and city have been experiencing downward trends in COVID infections and hospitalizations for weeks.
Staff reporter Laura Anaya-Morga contributed to this report.