LOS ANGELES – Next time you visit a theme park in Los Angeles County, bring a mask.
Universal Studios spokeswoman said that visitors to Universal City Walk and Universal Studios Hollywood would need to bring their masks or face coverings if they plan to enter a restaurant, ride or any indoor building starting Sunday.
With coronavirus cases and COVID-19-related hospitalizations on the rise, the Los Angeles County Health Dept. has asked residents to mask up in indoor public settings.
The Universal Studios Hollywood spokeswoman told Spectrum News 1 that the company is complying with the new health mandate.
"We continue to follow the guidance of health and government officials to ensure the health and safety of our guests and team members," said a Universal Studios Hollywood spokeswoman in an email. "Starting Sunday, we will require that face coverings be worn within all indoor venues, regardless of vaccination status."
A spokesman for Six Flags Magic Mountain, which is also in Los Angeles County, has not returned a Spectrum News 1 message requesting comment.
The change in local health policy comes a month after California reopened its economy. On June 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom was at Universal Studios celebrating the state's low coronavirus case rates, the high vaccination rate among the population and the end of social distancing, capacity restrictions, and masks in almost all settings. Unvaccinated people are still required to wear a mask indoors, but there is little to no enforcement.
Universal Studios and other theme parks followed the state's lead and dropped their visitor mask requirements.
A month later, the delta variant is fast spreading among the unvaccinated and a few vaccinated residents in Los Angeles County. The delta variant is a mutation of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
According to City News Service, there were 1,537 new infections of COVID-19 in LA County, the highest since March. The seven-day average rate of new cases per 100,000 people has jumped from 4.8 cases to 7.1 cases.
The rise in cases and hospitalizations in Los Angeles on Thursday led the county's health officers to re-issue a mandate that requires vaccinated and unvaccinated residents and visitors in Los Angeles County to mask up when in an indoor setting. The new mask mandate will go into effect Saturday at 11:59 p.m.
"Wearing a mask when indoors with others reduces the risk of both getting and transmitting the virus," said County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis to City News Service. "Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so we can stop the trends and level of transmission we are currently seeing."
Health officials did not say how long the new mask mandate will remain in effect.
Before the new health mandate, fully vaccinated visitors at Magic Mountain could be maskless when venturing into the Valencia theme park. Meanwhile, unvaccinated visitors were required to wear masks if they entered a retail building, theater, or restaurant.
Universal Studios Hollywood's policy asked unvaccinated guests to wear a face covering and encouraged all visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings indoors.
That will change starting Sunday.
All visitors at Universal Studios and, most likely, Magic Mountain will need to wear masks indoors to comply with the county's new mask mandate.