The Los Angeles film industry has returned to forced masking indoors after county officials reported a higher number of coronavirus cases resulting in hospitalizations.
“With new hospital admissions reaching more than 8 per week per 100,000 population, they will resume indoor masking requirements, along with several other safety measures,” L.A. public health officer Barbara Ferrer said Thursday, according to Variety.
The industry’s agreement with its unions maintains that if eight or more people per 100,000 L.A. County residents are hospitalized for COVID, film and TV productions must return to mask wearing.
L.A. authorities reported that the hospitalization rate rose to 8.1 this week.
The film industry agreement was first set in place in May and is set to expire on July 15.
“This industry has worked closely with their labor partners to institute Covid safety measures that create safety for all workers while being able to continue the important work,” Ferrer said in praise of the industry. “We do applaud them along with many other businesses that are taking advantage of the many tools that are available to keep workers safe.”
Film and TV productions were told this week that the re-masking policy will take effect immediately.
Hollywood had already moved to mandate vaccines and booster shots in an agreement with unions in February. All employees of the film and TV industry were told that they must take the jab as a condition for employment.
However, this month, reports also revealed that nearby Alameda County’s COVID rates were nearly the same as surrounding counties despite its reinstitution of masks this month and the corresponding lack of them elsewhere. The data seems to cast serious doubt on the effectiveness of mask wearing as a preventative measure.
The San Francisco Chronicle cited data from the California Department of Public Health that shows the case rate for Alameda County — as well as Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and San Francisco — and found that the mask mandate in Alameda made little to no difference in the infection rate.