Mask mandate takes effect for large outdoor events in LA County as delta variant surges across US

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Everyone attending outdoor "mega-events" of more than 10,000 people -- such as open-air concerts and baseball, football and soccer games - will have to wear a face covering in Los Angeles County under a new COVID-19 health order that took effect late Thursday night.

The health order -- which began at 11:59 p.m. Thursday -- requires mask-wearing in such outdoor settings except when people are "actively eating or drinking." The requirement applies to everyone, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Outdoor events had previously been exempted from the county's mask-wearing mandate, which requires face coverings in all indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are also required on public transit, at transit hubs such as airports and train stations, inside schools, at health care settings, homeless shelters and correctional facilities.

The order applies to such events as music or food festivals, car shows, endurance events, marathons, parades, sporting events and concerts. Theme parks are not included.

Fans attending games at Dodger Stadium will be affected, as will those in attendance at Rams and Chargers games at SoFi Stadium, LAFC games at Banc of California Stadium and LA Galaxy Games at Dignity Health Sports Park. Concert-goers at the Hollywood Bowl will also be subject to the mandate.

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With Los Angeles County's renewed indoor masking requirement set to take effect late Saturday night, many are questioning the decision.

Operators of such venues are responsible for enforcing the mask rule at their respective locations, county officials say.

At SoFi Stadium, which is a hybrid indoor-outdoor facility, masks have been required in indoor areas such as concourses and restrooms since last month. Face coverings will now be mandated in seating areas as well.

Meanwhile, the fight over mask and vaccine mandates moved to the center of California's looming recall election last week, with candidate Larry Elder promising to swiftly roll back sweeping government orders while Democrats denounced the leading Republican as a science skeptic who would endanger public health.

Days earlier, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California will require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, amid growing concerns about the highly contagious delta variant.

City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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