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Los Angeles County mandates masks at outdoor mega events

August 18, 2021 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County on Tuesday ordered people to wear masks at all outdoor mass events such as concerts and sports games whether or not they’ve been vaccinated as the COVID-19 delta variant surges.

The county health officer mandated masks at all times for any event with a crowd greater than 10,000 except when people are actively eating and drinking. The order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

SoFi Stadium announced it would implement the new mask mandate at L.A. Rams and Chargers games this weekend. Other sports venues were expected to follow suit.

The county previously required masks to be worn in most indoor public places, such as restaurants and gyms. The revised order now also covers “mega events” ranging from marathons to car shows and food festivals.

Delta is a much more contagious variant of the coronavirus and it is fueling a surge of new cases across the country. California is averaging about 10,000 new infections a day.

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LA County, which has 10 million residents, on Tuesday announced nearly 3,000 new cases of COVID-19, with about 1,700 people hospitalized. There also were 30 new deaths reported.

Most of those infections are among the unvaccinated, authorities said.

There have been reports of so-called breakthrough cases among those who have received the shots. But health officials say vaccinated people are less likely to become infected or have severe problems. Vaccinated people can also transmit an infection.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to have the city attorney draft an ordinance requiring people to show proof that they have been at least partially vaccinated before they can enter many indoor places, such as restaurants, stores, bars, gyms and movie theaters. The council also was scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to require all city employees to be fully vaccinated.