From local barbershops and neighborhood breweries to Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles County officials and business owners have been grappling with how to enforce the rules on the second full day of a renewed term to mask the Monday July 19.
Adding an emergency to the effort: The number of people hospitalized for the coronavirus has more than doubled since warrants were lifted in mid-June, officials confirmed on Monday, July 19. These hospitalizations fell from 218 in mid-June to 544 on Monday, according to the state dashboard.
The county reported two more deaths and 1,233 more coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the human toll to 24,585, with 1,269,090 infections. Authorities say 16% of the 7,182,000 million LA County residents tested tested positive for the virus.
And as the tally rose again, officials – wary of a higher number of cases among unvaccinated people – rushed to encourage compliance, but warned there could be more enforcement. , if necessary. However, what this app could entail was unclear in a county where Sheriff Alex Villanueva and LAPD leaders have said they will not name residents who break the rules.
With numbers like these, the mask’s renewed mandate – requiring anyone aged 2 and over, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face masks indoors came into effect on Sunday, as businesses large and small alike. public places and other indoor public spaces were preparing for battle with relentless disease.
Dodger Stadium was one of those ventures, as it started a homestand on Monday. At Chavez Ravine, the new requirement meant that if you’re in an indoor stadium hall or concession stand picking up a Dodger Dog, you’re ‘inside’.
A stadium post on the requirement emphasizes that “masks must be worn” “except when sitting and actively eating or drinking”. The Dodgers are still not considering gaiters, bandanas and masks with valves as appropriate face coverings, ”according to the post.
As of Monday afternoon, it was not clear how stadium staff would enforce the order. But it was clear on Monday that county public health officials were prepared to go beyond “pushes” in the effort to get people to comply.
On the one hand, officials said they are working “closely” with companies to ensure they have the appropriate protocols and measures in place to notify employees and customers of the mask requirement.
The first complaints of non-compliance have fueled this effort, officials said on Monday.
“Public health uses education and information sharing as the main step to achieve compliance,” according to a statement. “Where compliance is not achieved on job sites and businesses, enforcement may include issuing a notice of violation or a citation. Regular visits by inspectors to resolve issues of concern are also possible, county officials said.
Nonetheless, officials have said that given the increased risk associated with the Delta variant, “we expect individuals and businesses to immediately comply with this reasonable and non-intrusive precaution.”
And several companies have expressed their intention to comply, knowing that their companies are just starting to recover from the blow they suffered at the time from the more restrictive measures.
Heads of county legal agencies are in “push mode,” adding that further action would only be taken if a compliance issue worsened.
The renewed specter of regular inspections was enough to spark visions of the peak of the pandemic for many business owners, when inspectors traveled to verify compliance. Vic Chouchanian, co-owner of the San Fernando Brewing Company, remembered those times well.
Chouchanian said he will always work to comply and understands the need to rekindle the masks inside, but can’t help but feel frustrated.
“It started again with the arrival of the board of health,” he said, with a tinge of concern that beyond mask terms could be tighter restrictions, if the numbers worsen.
Cindy Burton, owner of Speakeasy Tavern in Redondo Beach, said it might be difficult to apply in places like bars.
“It will be hard to impose it in a bar or a restaurant. When people come in, they have to wear their masks. When they sit down and eat they obviously can’t wear it, ”she said.
Yet by Monday its staff had already had to deal with customers who decided to leave after being asked to put on a mask.
“I just had to tell them, ‘I have no choice,’” she said. “We need to do what we need to do to keep our business open. “
Experts – and many business owners – say it’s better to join the mandate now than pay a higher price later.
“At this point, having the mandate and requiring voluntary compliance with it is appropriate,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, of the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. “We will see over time what effect we get with this mandate.”
He likened the warrant to a big super-tanker making a turn. You turn the rudder and it takes a few miles for the ship to turn because of its enormous mass.
The masks, in effect, are an attempt at a low-tech shift, the results of which will be visible in a few weeks, he said.
With millions of unvaccinated people left in the county, Kim-Farley was optimistic we wouldn’t go back to the darker days of January.
“We will not go back to the days of the virtual tsunami, at the beginning of this year, consecutive holidays. It’s just because there are so many now who are vaccinated… ”or who have natural immunity.
But that’s no excuse for leaving the battle against the disease unfinished, he said.
“We still have a substantial number of people in Los Angeles who haven’t been vaccinated. Therefore, this is the reason why we need to step up control measures to now include indoor masking for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
“The facts are that people who suffer from serious illness and death, 99% of them are not vaccinated. This should be a wake-up call, ”Kim-Farley said.
County officials, however, continued to express concern over the increase in statistics.
“LA County continues to see alarming trends of increased community spread,” LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said Monday, referring to the term “community spread” in a context that closely resembles the earlier ones. days of the pandemic in 2020.
But this time, the protagonist is a mutant, more infectious version of the original virus, which appears to thrive among unvaccinated people. To complicate matters, officials said, the close interaction between masked and unmasked people, some vaccinated, others not.
“The spread of the more infectious Delta variant by the mixture of unmasked individuals with unknown vaccine status has caused a rapid spread of COVID-19 which is leading to a significant increase in cases and hospitalizations,” Ferrer said.
Among cities with independent health services: Pasadena reported 15 new cases on Monday, for a total of 11,558; the city’s death toll remained at 351. As of Friday, Long Beach reported a total of 948 deaths and 54,741 cases.