Long Beach masks: Residents to be required to mask up indoors regardless of vaccination status

Following Los Angeles County's lead, health officials in Long Beach announced Thursday that residents will be required to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Why will Long Beach be re-instating the indoor mask mandate?

The city of Long Beach, which has its own health department, has seen a 288% increase in average daily COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks as well as a current case rate of 7.5 per 100,000 residents, up from less than 1 per 100,000 on June 15. 

"These trends are similar to those reported by LA County. In addition, the CDC lists Los Angeles County, including Long Beach, as an area of "substantial" virus transmission," city officials wrote in a joint press release. "The delta variant, which is more highly transmissible, is now the dominant strain in California, including in Southern California, comprising 60% to 70% of new cases."

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When will the new mask mandate in Long Beach take effect?

The new mandate will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

Where will Long Beach residents be required to wear masks?

The mandate means customers will again be required to mask up when entering any indoor public establishment, including retail shops, grocery stores, bars, clubs, restaurants and workplaces. Indoor dining will remain open, but customers will have to remain masked while they are not eating or drinking.

Are there other restrictions?

Long Beach officials said that no capacity limits or business restrictions are being implemented at this time.

Long Beach pushing residents to get vaccinated

Long Beach health officials say that scientific evidence shows that vaccines continue to be an important tool in preventing COVID-19 cases. In June, 84% of new cases in the city occurred among people who have not been vaccinated, officials said. Hospitalizations have remained low to date, with 14 Long Beach residents currently hospitalized. Twelve of the 14 people currently hospitalized are unvaccinated. Historically, those who become hospitalized do so about two weeks after infection. 

"There is a common misconception when it comes to vaccines, from measles to COVID-19, that the vaccine protects you 100%, and cases of vaccine-preventable diseases never occur in vaccinated people," said City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis. "But this is not the way it works. No vaccine works 100%. There’s always a small chance that you can get an infection, even if you’re vaccinated. The reason why we’re seeing cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated people isn’t because the vaccine doesn’t work. It’s because there’s just so much of it around in the community." 

The Health Department continues to aggressively work to make sure anyone who wants to be vaccinated is able to get a vaccine. A full schedule for July can be found online.

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