Wearing a face mask at an indoor public establishments will once again be mandatory in Los Angeles starting this weekend due to a steady increase in Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations, health authorities said Thursday.
Los Angeles is the first large US metropolis to reimpose the use of face masks – regardless of vaccination status – in shops, grocery stores, restaurants and workplaces to help contain the pandemic.
The new masking order goes into effect midnight Saturday in the county of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is “not where we need to be” in terms of numbers of vaccinated people, said county health officer Muntu Davis.
On Thursday the county reported 1,537 new cases of infection – the highest number since early March, and seventh straight day of new cases numbers topping 1,000.
US health officials announced in mid-May that fully vaccinated Americans could say goodbye to their masks both outdoors and indoors.
However, after peaking in April the US immunisation campaign has slowed significantly, even though plenty of vaccines are available.
The increase in Covid-19 cases, mainly due to the spread of the Delta variant, has some officials worried.
The vast majority of people testing positive for Covid-19, some of whom must be hospitalised, have not been vaccinated.