City of Long Beach to ease Mask Requirements on Feb. 26

City of Long Beach Health and Human Services Department has announced a new health order, which goes into effect on Feb. 26, will allow fully vaccinated people to remove their masks in many indoor settings as well as other options for vaccine verification in most businesses and public areas.

LONG BEACH, CA – On Feb. 23, the County of Los Angeles released a new health order that relaxes masking requirements for fully vaccinated people. 

Long Beach, as a separate health jurisdiction within L.A. County, will issue a separate health order, effective February 26, that will allow fully vaccinated people to remove masks in many indoor settings in alignment with California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Face Covering Guidance. This order will differ slightly from the County approach allowing for additional options for vaccine verification, including self-attestation, in most businesses and public areas.

The State guidance with which the Long Beach Health Department will align outlines verification options for settings where masks are required only for unvaccinated people, including:

  • Providing information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated people to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry; OR
  • Implementing vaccine verification to determine whether people are required to wear a mask; OR
  • Requiring all patrons to wear masks.

COVID-19 cases continue to steadily decline; as of Feb. 22, the seven-day case rate is 159 per 100,000 with a positivity rate of 4.0%. More importantly, hospitalizations for COVID-19 in area hospitals have declined from 367 to 131 and continue to decline.  Hospitals have ample capacity at this time. 

Vaccines continue to be an important and effective tool against the worst risks associated with COVID-19 including hospitalization and death. In the week ending February 12, fully vaccinated and boosted individuals were more than 13 times less likely to end up hospitalized compared to unvaccinated people. The likelihood of dying was also significantly higher – 13 times higher – for unvaccinated residents compared to residents who were fully vaccinated. Therefore, it is appropriate to strongly recommend masking instead of requiring masking in certain circumstances, as outlined below.  

The State’s health order, and the City Health Order, continue to require masks, regardless of vaccination status, in the following indoor settings:

  • On public transit (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station or any other area that provides transportation)
  • Indoors in K-12 schools and at childcare centers
  • Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
  • Healthcare settings
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long term care settings and adult and senior care facilities

Masks continue to be required for unvaccinated people in indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public). Fully vaccinated people are recommended to continue indoor masking when the risk may be high. Surgical masks or respirators (e.g N95s, KN95s, KF94s) with good fit remain highly recommended.

The Long Beach Health Department strongly encourages people to continue to mask indoors and follow other common-sense COVID-19 safety strategies, such as staying home when sick; frequent hand-washing; testing for COVID-19 when in contact with someone who has the virus or when experiencing any COVID-like symptoms; and becoming vaccinated and boosted when eligible.

The Health Order will be available Friday with specific details for implementation in Long Beach.