Los Angeles County Ends COVID-19 Emergency After 3 Years

By Jamie Joseph
Jamie Joseph
Jamie Joseph
Jamie is a California-based reporter covering issues in Los Angeles and state policies for The Epoch Times. In her free time, she enjoys reading nonfiction and thrillers, going to the beach, studying Christian theology, and writing poetry. You can always find Jamie writing breaking news with a cup of tea in hand.
March 31, 2023Updated: April 4, 2023

After three years of the COVID-19 emergency in place in the most populous county in the country, Los Angeles ended its emergency declaration March 31.

The county first declared a local emergency on March 4, 2020, which brought a wave of restrictions and closures of businesses in the weeks that followed as rigorous shelter-in-place orders were implemented to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The county Department of Public Health will still be offering COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments for free, according to its website. The requirement for indoor masking in public spaces ended a year ago and the recommendation to do so ended in January.

Vaccinations to work in jails, prisons, and adult care facilities will no longer be necessary as of April 3.

“Public Health will carefully monitor these sites for clusters of cases and outbreaks to ascertain the impact of these changes on the transmission of COVID-19,” the county said on its website.

Healthcare workers will still be required to be vaccinated and masked while working, and individuals must still isolate for at least five days after contracting COVID-19.

According to a 2020 report by Yelp, about 15,000 businesses in Los Angeles County closed down due to the restrictions, and estimated that half of them will not ever reopen.

In February, Gov. Gavin Newsom ended California’s state of emergency that had also been in place for three years. Meanwhile, the state will also rescind its vaccination and masking requirements for healthcare workers also on April 3.

“​With the end of the California COVID-19 State of Emergency, it is appropriate to revise our current masking framework. California’s path forward will be predicated on our individual, smarter actions that will collectively yield better outcomes for our neighborhoods, communities, and state,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement March 3.

All 58 counties in the state have reported low transmission and hospitalization rates so far this year.

In Los Angeles County, the number of COVID-19 cases has been dropping since January and are now at their lowest point since July 2021, after the first wave of vaccinations was rolled out and before the arrival of the Delta variant.

As of last week, the county averaged 501 cases a day, according to the health department, down from more than 45,000 recorded, for example, one day in January of last year driven by the Omicron variant.

President Biden also notified Congress on Jan. 30 of his plans to rescind national-level emergency and public health emergency declarations by May 11.