PASADENA, Calif.—On Wednesday, Feb. 23, the County of Los Angeles released a new health order that relaxes masking requirements for fully vaccinated people in certain settings.
Because of steady improvement in COVID-19 metrics, a high local vaccination rate, and anticipated adjustments to guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pasadena—as a separate health jurisdiction—will issue an updated health order, effective Feb. 26. This order will give fully vaccinated people the option to either wear or remove masks in many indoor settings in alignment with the state health officer order. This order will differ slightly from the county's approach, and is less restrictive in allowing for additional options for vaccine verification, including self-attestation, in most businesses and public areas.
The state health officer order requires anyone who is not fully vaccinated to mask in all indoor public settings and businesses (including, but not limited to retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, workplaces, and state and local government offices serving the public). As such, Pasadena Public Health Department strongly recommends that businesses, worksites, venue operators or hosts follow CDPH guidance that provides options for reducing COVID-19 transmission risk including:
- Require all patrons to wear masks; OR
- Implement vaccine verification to determine whether people are required to wear a mask; OR
- Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated people to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.
Until COVID-19 cases reach the Moderate level of the CDC framework, which is expected by the end of March, businesses/operators are encouraged to take measures to protect employees and customers by implementing both vaccine verification and, for those who are not fully vaccinated, verification of a negative COVID-19 test (within 2 days if PCR and 1 day if antigen). People who are not fully vaccinated, including employees and customers, are required to wear a mask indoors in public.
No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.
People who are ill with COVID-19 symptoms should wear a mask regardless of vaccination status, test and stay home. People are still required to mask, regardless of vaccination status, if they are within 10 days of symptom onset of a COVID-19 infection (or positive test if asymptomatic) or quarantining after exposure to COVID-19.
The state’s health order and federal regulations continue to require masks, regardless of vaccination status, in the following indoor settings:
- On public transit (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station or any other area that provides transportation)
- Indoors in K-12 schools and at childcare centers
- Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
- Healthcare settings
- State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
- Homeless shelters
- Long-term care settings and adult and senior care facilities
Fully vaccinated people are recommended to continue indoor masking when the risk of COVID-19 transmission or severe disease may be high. Surgical masks or respirators (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s) with good fit remain highly recommended.
Up-to-date vaccination (including booster doses when eligible) is highly recommended for everyone ages 5 and older as the safe and effective way to protect against severe disease from COVID-19, including hospitalization and death. In addition, Pasadena Public Health Department strongly encourages people to continue to mask indoors and follow other common-sense COVID-19 safety strategies, such as staying home when sick; frequent handwashing; and testing for COVID-19 when in contact with someone who has the virus or when experiencing any COVID-like symptoms.
The state's health order continues to order masking indoors in K-12 schools and at childcare centers. Local health jurisdictions do not have the authority to relax that requirement.
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