Los Angeles County tightens COVID mask mandate to include 'mega' events like NFL games

The new mandate takes effect Thursday and will impact NFL and MLB stadium fans.
New York City residents wearing masks

Los Angeles County has tightened its COVID-19 health-safety mandates to require people wear a mask at "outdoor mega events," regardless of their vaccination status.

The new order was announced Tuesday and takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. It follows the county’s order in mid-July that masks be worn indoors in such public places as stores and restaurants – amid increasing COVID case numbers as a result of the virus’s highly contagious delta variant. 

The county defines the mega events as gathering that attracts a crowd of over 10,000 people, which would include music or food festivals, car shows, marathons, parades, sporting events and concerts, according to Los Angeles TV station Fox 11.

The new mandate also has strict guidelines for removing the mask to “actively” eat or drink, in an apparent attempt to keep people from avoiding the order.

It states active eating or drinking" is the "limited time during which the mask can be removed briefly to eat or drink” and that the face covering “must be immediately put back on afterward.”

 The mandate will impact such events as Major League Baseball games at Dodger Stadium, NFL games for the Rams and Chargers at SoFi Stadium and concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.

The infection rate in California has reportedly slowed over the past week. However, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health on Monday reported 2,426 new COVID cases, 1,653 current hospitalizations and five new deaths.