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Masks optional for vaccinated, mostly

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

In a few short days the state of California is set to fully reopen its economy—however, it will not be completely business as usual.
Beginning on Tuesday, Los Angeles County is set to align with the state’s guidance on face coverings which means that fully vaccinated people can go about their business maskless in most situations. Whether one chooses to eschew the mask really comes down to personal risk tolerance but health officials have said that the likelihood of COVID-19 infection for the vaccinated is extremely remote.

Of the 3.3 million Los Angeles County residents who are vaccinated only 0.03 percent later tested positive including people who were asymptomatic, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Vaccinated individuals will still have to don face coverings on public transit including trains, buses and even in ride share vehicles. Masks will also be required at transit stations such as the Metrolink platform in the Village.

Other settings where masking will still be mandated include K-12 schools, healthcare settings like nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and cooling centers.

People who are unvaccinated will still have to wear masks and socially distance just as we have for the last 15 months, although there is no realistic way to police this requirement.

Also on Tuesday, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy program is set to be retired, meaning many more of our pre-pandemic activities can resume, with some restrictions. While capacity limitations and distancing requirements will be lifted at most businesses, specific requirements will continue for large capacity events, schools, day care facilities, day camps, high-risk congregate settings and health care facilities. The county will also lift current travel restrictions.

For indoor mega-events—those with over 5,000 people—all attendees must verify full vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test in the previous 72 hours. For outdoor events with over 10,000 attendees, vaccination status and negative test would be recommended but not required, although attendees who do not verity their status will be required to wear masks.

Claremont High School principal Brett O’Connor announced this week that graduation at the school would be at full capacity in anticipation of the announcement about outdoor gatherings.

Claremont’s Public Information Officer Bevin Handel told the COURIER that the city’s mask ordinance is tied to the county health officer order and the city will remove the mask ordinance on Tuesday including in the special “mask zones” like the Village and the Wilderness Park.

New infections in Claremont have come to a virtual standstill with only three confirmed cases in the last three weeks.
This past week, the state released the final reopening framework tier numbers, and Los Angeles County remains in the least restrictive yellow tier with an adjusted case rate of 0.7 per 100,000 people, while the overall test positivity rate remains steady at 0.4 percent including areas with the fewest “health affirming resources.”

Along with all the good reopening news, it is important to note the virus has not gone away completely and on Wednesday, county health officials announced 4 deaths and 202 new cases. A total of 243 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized, 16 percent of whom are in ICU.

Since the pandemic began 24,408 county residents have died from COVID-19 and there have been 1,245,588 cumulative cases.


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