Barger calls for an end to LA County's mandatory masking in schools, other indoor settings

A Los Angeles County Supervisor is urging officials to re-evaluate the county's COVID-19 mask policy, noting that they "don’t make a difference when they’re not consistently followed or enforced."

"Masking rules set by the state and county weren’t followed consistently by everyone at yesterday’s NFC Championship," Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement Monday. "Instead, we saw individuals choosing to mask up based on calculated personal risk. Modern stadiums like SoFi Stadium have strong air circulation and all attendees of the game were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Some fans evidently felt this was enough to protect them against COVID-19."

Barger said she believes that individuals should be allowed to make an informed choice about whether to mask up or not. 

"We need to trust the public to make the best personal decisions for themselves based on their unique risks and circumstances," she said.

RELATED: Newsom, Garcetti, facing criticism for maskless photos during Rams NFC Championship game

Los Angeles County is still under a mask mandate that affects all indoor public settings and outdoor "Mega Events" of more than 5,000 people, and SoFi Stadium additionally has a mask policy. In fact, the stadium handed out KN-95 masks at Sunday's NFC Championship Game and plans to do so again at Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. 

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"I hope state and local health leaders take this into consideration and re-evaluate indoor and school masking mandates now," said Barger.

Meanwhile, Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were facing criticism Monday after photographs surfaced of them during the Los Angeles Rams game Sunday at SoFi Stadium, without the required masks. 

Newsom addressed the criticism during a press conference Monday, saying that he only removed the mask for the photograph. 

"The rest of the time I wore it, as we all should," Newsom said regarding the mask.

In a statement from Garcetti's communications director, Erin Mellon, Garcetti said he, acknowledged that he took off his mask for a few moments during Sunday's game," and that he "continues to encourage all Californians to do their part" to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

"So none of the government officials wearing a mask like they ordered everyone else to," one Instagram user asked. "So glad my son has to wear a mask to school everyday but Gov Newsom doesn't," another added.

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