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Facing a continuing increase in coronavirus cases, Los Angeles County said Tuesday that it would require masks be worn at large outdoor concerts and sporting events that attract more than 10,000 people.
The new regulation, which takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, means that people attending the Hollywood Bowl and Dodger Stadium, as well as outdoor music festivals and what the county describes as “mega events,” will now have to wear masks. The rule will apply to people regardless of their vaccination status.
People will be allowed to slip off their masks when eating and drinking, but only briefly.
The order came as cities around the nation have taken steps to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Chicago joined Los Angeles County, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and other areas to require masks in public indoor places. New York City is requiring proof of vaccination for dining and entertainment activities indoors; Broadway is requiring proof of vaccination and masks as it reopens.
The new rules requiring masks at large outdoor events in Los Angeles came as the county reported that cases, hospitalizations and positivity rates have increased markedly. Los Angeles County has been averaging 3,361 new cases a day, an 18 percent increase over its average two weeks ago, according to data collected by The New York Times.
Los Angeles County has been aggressive in instituting masks requirements in the face of evidence that the Delta variant of the virus has been spreading. It required people to wear masks in indoor public spaces last month, again regardless of vaccination status.
Covid policies at the Hollywood Bowl have shifted repeatedly during the year as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which runs the Bowl, has sought to follow changing county regulations. It has drawn big crowds over the past six weeks. With few exceptions, people in the audience have been maskless, as had been permitted under county rules. But they have tended to put on their masks as they join the crush of people moving down the crowded walkways after the show.