Why Health Officials Are Imposing New COVID Measures Despite Improving Conditions

“This is a reasonable path forward that will position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges,” public health director Barbara Ferrer says

While COVID cases and hospitalizations have continued to drop in L.A. County, health officials last week announced new vaccine mandates for some spaces where people imbibe indoors—including bars, nightclubs, and breweries—as well as amusement parks.

Health experts say the stricter vaccine requirements are crucial to preventing expected surges during the fall and winter seasons when people are more likely to travel and celebrate the holidays with people who live outside their homes.

“This modified health officer order aligns with the continued need to reduce risk of transmission and increase vaccination coverage,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said last week. “This is a reasonable path forward that will position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges.”

Governor Gavin Newsom also cautioned that it “was around this time last year we started to see that stabilization and decline as well,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

He added, “We need to be vigilant. Of course, the best way to mitigate that … is to continue our vaccine efforts.”

The county’s biggest effort is to combat COVID is to continue to get more people vaccinated. According to a tracker by the Times, about 67 percent of Angelenos have received at least one jab.

“In order to avoid a cycle of repeated surges every few months, we’ll need to see a significant increase in vaccination coverage,” Ferrer said.

Under a new health order issued Friday, attendees will be required to show proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test to access outdoor “mega-events” with 10,000 or more people, beginning October 7, including concerts, sports events, and theme parks.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.