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Face Masks Must Be Worn Indoors in Santa Monica Again
By Jorge Casuso
July 15, 2021 -- Face masks must be worn indoors in Santa Monica regardless of vaccination status starting Saturday at 11:59 p.m., City officials announced Thursday evening.
The order brings Santa Monica into compliance with a Los Angeles County Health order issued earlier in the day by County Health officials.
The order is meant to curb the spread of the more contagious, but less fatal, Delta variant that has increased the number of new cases to the highest level in four months.
"Santa Monica Health Ambassadors will be conducting business outreach to ensure mask compliance," said City officials, who are encouraging the public to report "compliance issues."
The mandate comes as County Health officials reported 1,537 new confirmed COVID cases on Tuesday, the latest updated numbers, and three virus related deaths in the County of more than 10 million.
In Santa Monica, which has some 93,000 residents, there were 16 new cases reported on Monday and 10 on Tuesday. County Health officials deducted one virus-related death last week after further investigation.
That brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Santa Monica to 4,990, according to County data updated Wednesday. There have been 182 confirmed virus-related deaths.
While the number of new coronavirus cases reported Tuesday are seven times the 210 cases reported when the County fully reoopened on June 15, the number of virus-related deaths dropped from six to three.
Meanwhile, the number of patients with the coronavirus in the County's 2,500 licensed ICU beds has doubled from 43 a month ago to 89 on Tuesday.
"We expect to keep masking requirements in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19," said County Health Officer Muntu Davis.
"But waiting for us to be at high community transmission level before making a change would be too late," Davis said.
In addition to mandating face masks indoors, County Health officials are urging residents to be vaccinated.
As of July 9, at total of 5,766,856 LA County residents over the age of 16 had received one vaccine dose, representing 69.3 percent of that population.
In Santa Monica, 64,061 of those over 16, or 78.6 percent, had received at least one dose.
According to County Health officials, 11 percent of Delta variant cases are among vaccinated individuals.
The mask mandate comes one day after the City issued its 39th Emergency Supplement since a health emergency was declared in March of last year.
The order, signed by Interim City Manager John Jalili, extends the City’s local emergency orders, with certain specified exceptions, to September 30.
The supplement does not extend temporary changes to the City’s Housing Trust Fund and Affordable Housing Production Program guidelines.
It also does not extend "temporary guidelines and regulations to permit the use of City sites for drive-in movie theaters, vehicle-based parades, concerts and other entertainment events, speakers, tours, and corporate exhibitions."
"The use of City sites for these purposes will return to being governed by the City’s pre-COVID-19 community event regulations," City officials said.
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