Long Beach to require masks at large outdoor gatherings, including Grand Prix

Long Beach health officials announced late Wednesday they will require face coverings at “mega” outdoor events, along with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for large indoor events.

The new health order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, while the new requirement for proof of vaccination at indoor events with 1,000 or more people is effective Sept. 20.

The new health order will affect the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, which attracts more than 100,000 people over three days, this year Sept. 24-26. The city said Wednesday that it will specifically require staff and spectators at the Grand Prix show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter, and masking for all individuals will be required.

Jim Michaelian, president/CEO of the Grand Prix Association, said Tuesday that officials will abide by any mandates or rules that are enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ll do whatever we can to make sure everyone has a good time and they’re kept safe,” he said.

The provisions of the new health order include:

  • Face coverings will be required for everyone older than 2 at outdoor mega events, such as food festivals, car shows, marathons, parades, sporting events and concerts that attract crowds of 10,000 or more, except when eating or drinking.
  • Proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before an event starts, for indoor mega events, which is reduced from 5,000 or more participants or spectators to 1,000 or more persons, effective Sept. 20.
  • Face coverings for everyone older than 2 in all indoor spaces.
  • Businesses, individuals and venue operators or hosts of mega outdoor events and all public indoor settings must post signage at entry points communicating the masking requirement for all patrons.

The move follows similar orders by Los Angeles County, which will require masks at outdoor events with more than 10,000 people.

The city on Wednesday also said it will now require dental workers and home health care workers to be vaccinated, in addition to health care workers in acute settings.

“We continue to follow the science, and these changes allow for events and businesses to continue to operate while reducing the transmission of this deadly virus,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a written statement.

New cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Long Beach and throughout the region, especially among unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people.

Over the past month, the city has seen a 100% increase in average daily cases. The current case rate is 35.5 per 100,000 residents, up from 8.5 per 100,000 on July 15.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in area hospitals have increased from 37 to 138 in the past four weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control now lists Los Angeles County, including Long Beach, as an area of “high” virus transmission.

 

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.
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