ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Citing concern about the delta variant of COVID-19, public health officials in Los Angeles County, California, have reimposed an indoor face mask requirement for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, while Hawaii’s governor said the state will continue to require that all people wear face masks in indoor settings. In the United Kingdom, starting today, people no longer have to wear face coverings in most indoor settings.
The California order took effect over the weekend in the county, which has seen a rapid increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in recent days. County health officials reported 1,537 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, a number not seen since early March.
“Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so they can stop the trends and level of transmission we’re currently seeing,” L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a briefing with reporters, KTLA5 reports. “We expect to keep this order in place until we begin to see improvements,” Davis said.
Sacramento and Yolo counties reintroduced indoor mask recommendations last week.
In mid-June, Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the statewide mask order, along with most of its pandemic-related restrictions.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige last week said the indoor mask requirement will remain in place as cases of COVID-19 rise in the state, the Associated Press reports. Hawaii hasn’t seen an increase in hospitalizations or deaths. So far 65% of Hawaii’s population has gotten one shot, and 58.9% are fully vaccinated. Gov. Ige has said he will keep the state’s mask mandate in place until 70% of the population is vaccinated.
In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance that fully vaccinated people could safely go mask-less in most indoor and outdoor settings. The exceptions include health-care facilities, public transportation and places where localities still require masks.
Meanwhile, the U.K. government “expects and recommends” that employees and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces such as shops, continue to wear face coverings, the Associated Press reports. In London, the city is requiring masks on public transit, and the National Health Service will require them in hospitals. Face masks still will be mandatory in Scotland and Wales.
Israel in late June reimposed a rule requiring people to wear masks indoors amid a rise in COVID-19 cases linked to the delta variant, the BBC reports. More than half of the population has been fully or partially inoculated against COVID-19.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis, including information about how to educate employees about the vaccines and other vaccine-related human resources advice. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.