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coronavirus crisis

Due to surge in coronavirus cases, L.A. County reimposing indoor mask requirement

With coronavirus cases on the rise, Los Angeles County will once again make it mandatory for people — even those who have been vaccinated — to wear masks indoors. The requirement will go into effect on Saturday night. 

This comes one month after the county lifted most coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses. The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has been spreading in California, and there has been a drop in the vaccination rate. Over the last week, L.A. County has reported an alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, with 1,077 new cases recorded every day, a 261 percent increase from two weeks earlier, the Los Angeles Times reports.

This is an "all-hands-on-deck moment," Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis told reporters on Thursday, adding that "we're not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here ... and waiting to do something will be too late given what we're seeing now." Wearing a mask inside is one of the more effective ways to keep the virus from spreading while still allowing businesses to remain open, he said, but "anything is on the table if things continue to get worse, which is why we want to take action now." 

Nearly all of the new reported cases are from people who are not fully vaccinated, and Davis said he believes the mask requirement will stay in place "until we begin to see improvements." Indoor dining will continue to be allowed, but people will need to wear masks when they are not eating or drinking.