Los Angeles health officials reissued the mandatory mask mandate for the county's 10 million residents for a second time after a worrying spike in the coronavirus pandemic.
The new mandate was scheduled to begin at 11:59 p.m. Saturday night.
"We're not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late, given what we're seeing," said Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis at a virtual media briefing Thursday.
Davis added that there was evidence of "substantial community transmission."
The mandate will apply to public spaces indoors, and will include those who are vaccinated.
Previously, the county had recommended to residents that they continue to wear masks at indoors public areas, even if they were vaccinated, but the recommendation will become a requirement.
California was the first state to announce a lockdown in March 2020 to stop the spread of the pandemic. Other states soon followed its example.
In June, more than a year later, California had largely reopened as the coronavirus infections and deaths receded as more people were vaccinated.
"With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California's economy," said Gov. Gavin Newsom at the time. "We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic."
Only a month later, the nation's largest county is returning to a mask mandate.
Health officials noted that Thursday marked six consecutive days that the county had seen 1,000 or more new coronavirus infections. New daily cases of the virus had spiked in January with nearly 20,000. That rate had plummeted to 100 new daily cases in June, but has been on an upward trend. On Thursday, the daily infection rate reached 1, 296.
"This is an all-hands-on-deck moment," Davis said Thursday.
Here's more about the coronavirus spike in Los Angeles:
LA County Records Sixth Straight Day With 1,000-Plus COVID Cases www.youtube.com