Reprieve: L.A. County Public Health Director Ferrer Won’t Mandate Masks—for Now

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Residents of Los Angeles County have been nervously waiting for Thursday’s announcement from Zero-COVID-obsessed Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, and she has finally spoken. She has “paused” the issue and will not be requiring masks indoors for the time being, saying declining COVID case numbers informed her decision.


It’s still amazing to me that this unelected official—who is not a medical doctor, but a social worker with a PhD—can make this judgment by herself for America’s most populous county and its 10 million people. (Technically, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors could fire her, but they so far haven’t shown the will to do so.)

“Any indication that the county would soon be moving to the medium community level would be a good reason to not move forward with universal indoor masking, which is what we are doing today,” Ferrer said. “We will be pausing and not moving forward at this time.”

Many were thrilled with the news:

It may not be time yet to party like it’s 1999, though, because Ferrer will certainly revisit the issue and has displayed a clear love of masks in the past. “No one is suggesting that we need to wear masks forever; rather, that [there] are likely to be short periods of time when it makes sense,” she said earlier this week (before announcing her decision).

Ferrer had been threatening to reintroduce the mandates for months, and a new mandate would have required masking indoors for “anyone age 2 or older at a host of establishments and venues, including shared office space, manufacturing and retail settings, event spaces, restaurants and bars, gyms and yoga studios, educational settings and children’s programs,” according to the LA Times. We’ve seen that movie before, and I for one sure as heck don’t want to see it again.


Crazily, masks are still required in taxis, Ubers and Lyfts. So wait, I walk maskless out of a packed bar, mask up for my Uber ride, then take it off again to walk into a crowded grocery store? That makes as much sense as masking between bites. It’s weird rules like these that have caused the public to lose so much faith in health authorities.

Ferrer cited declining case numbers as the reason behind her decision, but she’s been known to play around with the numbers. Per the LA Daily News:

…this time, Ferrer said, DPH [Department of Public Health] opted to use the county’s own in-house data to make the call on whether to implement a new mask mandate — as opposed to waiting for the CDC’s updated next Thursday. LA County’s data is two days ahead of the CDC’s, Ferrer said, accounting for the week ending on July 27.

Maybe there are other factors driving her judgment call, like the intense heat she’s been receiving over her many scandals.

RedState has been reporting on Ferrer’s antics closely. Jennifer Van Laar exposed the previously-undisclosed fact that Ferrer’s daughter was a co-author of the study that both the CDC and the LA County Health Department used to justify mask mandates. Jennifer Oliver O’Connell followed up with the story of how an underground moms group (which includes dads) exposed Ferrer’s plan to return to mandates in opposition to medical data. A parent pointed out Ferrer’s duplicity with the stats on Twitter.


Cameron Arcand wrote about Ferrer at the All-Star Game on July 19—maskless and dancing around like it was Mardi Gras—despite claiming that we were supposedly in a “high concern” COVID environment. Van Laar also detailed corruption in the department and Ferrer’s abuse of her employees.

Two members of the Board of Supervisors, who technically are Ferrer’s boss, also came out in opposition of a new mandate, with Kathryn Barger writing in a letter Monday that such rules are unenforceable and “actually distract our collective efforts to decrease COVID-19 infection rates.” Supervisor Janice Hahn, meanwhile, said she would prefer the state’s position, which is to recommend but not require masks. A third, Hilda Solis, stood against a potential mandate after Ferrer’s announcement. Stunning and brave.

This pause means that the potential for a mandate still looms, but the point remains the same: Barbara Ferrer lost this battle, and that’s the best news parents, businesses and Angelenos have had all week.



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