Five business groups reached out to Los Angeles County health officials, expressing their concerns over the rollout of the recent mask mandate which requires all county residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in all indoor public places.

In a letter to the Department of Public Health, the groups said the mandate was announced “mere days before it was to take effect, with no opportunity for input or warning for the business community.”

The group said the announcement left hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles businesses scrambling to prepare, plan or develop strategies for the implementation of the policy while rushing to buy signs and change protocols for customers and employees.

“For many businesses in the county, the new mandate is sparking confusion – and potentially violent pushback – from customers,” the letter said, signed by five groups, including the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, Central City Association of Los Angeles, United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Earlier this month Los Angeles County started requiring wearing masks indoor amid rapidly rising coronavirus cases, fueled by the swiftly spreading Delta variant.

State officials urged Wednesday fully vaccinated people to resume wearing masks in all indoor places, aligning its mask policy with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended Tuesday that fully inoculated people begin wearing masks indoors again.

The letter said since 99% of all positive cases are among the unvaccinated, the mask rule will “have a negative effect on these critical vaccination efforts, as it disincentivizes vaccination for the almost 40% of eligible, unvaccinated residents.”

Earlier Los Angeles County Sherriff Alex Villanueva said his deputies won’t enforce the county rule.

The letter said the recently relaxed rules combined with the new rule and lack of enforcement “cause an overwhelming concern for businesses.”

“We urge you to develop an outreach strategy and clear requirements for businesses well in advance of any upcoming changes to pandemic response policy. Please take your time to work with businesses that these mandates impact – the businesses who are struggling to recover from the first lockdown,” according to the letter.

The group added that businesses “cannot sustain additional closures, and we are very concerned that without feedback the county will continue to force rushed policies with little notice.”


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