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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Los Angeles, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Los Angeles, CA offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Los Angeles, CA

NO MATTER YOUR NEED, WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK.

STORE AT YOUR LOCATION

We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.

STORE AT OUR LOCATION

Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.

CUSTOM STORAGE

Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.

LOCAL MOVE

Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.

LONG-DISTANCE MOVE

Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.

MOVING & STORAGE

We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.

OFFICE USE

Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.

BUSINESS USE

If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level

CUSTOM USE

We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
icon-scale
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Los Angeles, CA

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are manufactured in-house and arrive new or restored to factory specifications
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.

EVERY ONE OF OUR MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINERS FOR RENT IN Los Angeles, CA, INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING SAFETY MEASURES:

High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.

COMMERCIAL STORAGE CONTAINERS TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY IN Los Angeles, CA

When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Los Angeles, CA

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.

WHETHER YOUR BUSINESS IS COMMERCIAL, HEALTHCARE, GOVERNMENT OR EDUCATION, OR YOUR INTEREST IS TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY SHIPPING CONTAINERS, SMS HAS YOU COVERED:

One
Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Los Angeles, CA
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.

CUSTOM CONTAINERS FOR YOUR HOME IN Los Angeles, CA

Building additions to your home can be very expensive and requires going through the hassle of securing permits and waiting for construction. You can save money, time and stress by modifying a shipping container instead. Whether you need additional space for a home gym, recreation or storage, we can convert steel containers into anything you can imagine. Our custom container gyms, man-caves or she-sheds, garages and more give you the extra space you need without the hassle, cost and wait that comes with home renovation.

Renting shipping containers for temporary storage, either when moving or dealing with restoration from a fire or flood, provides a secure, convenient way to keep your belongings close for accessing them whenever you need to. Plus, renting mobile storage containers for moving costs less than traditional movers and allows you to take your time packing, reducing the stress that comes from moving. You can also rent portable offices for your home to make working remotely distraction-free.

 Rent Shipping Containers Los Angeles, CA

HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE US TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY A SHIPPING CONTAINER FOR YOUR HOME:

With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Los Angeles, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.

MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINERS & PORTABLE OFFICES TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY IN Los Angeles, CA

We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Los Angeles, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.

HERE'S HOW WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK:

You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.

HOW RENTING A STORAGE CONTAINER AND MOBILE OFFICE WORKS

Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.

HOW RENTING A STORAGE CONTAINER AND MOBILE OFFICE WORKS

1

DETERMINE DESTINATION

Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Los Angeles, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.

2

SCHEDULE DATE & TIME

Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.

3

PREPARE FOR YOUR MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINER DELIVERY

Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.

4

DELIVERY & SETUP

When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT MOBILE CONTAINERS TO Rent, Buy OR Modify IN Los Angeles, CA?

Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @

909.341.4736

Latest News in Los Angeles, CA

L.A. County on verge of indoor mask mandate as deaths, hospitalizations rise

Sustained jumps in cases and hospitalizations fueled by the hyper-infectious BA.5 subvariant pushed Los Angeles County into the high COVID-19 community level Thursday, a shift that could trigger a new public indoor mask mandate by the end of this month unless conditions improve.Health officials have long said the county was inching closer to the metrics for a new mask measure, and those warnings are now closer than ever as the latest COVID-19 wave continues to wash over the region.Should L.A. County remain in the high ...

Sustained jumps in cases and hospitalizations fueled by the hyper-infectious BA.5 subvariant pushed Los Angeles County into the high COVID-19 community level Thursday, a shift that could trigger a new public indoor mask mandate by the end of this month unless conditions improve.

Health officials have long said the county was inching closer to the metrics for a new mask measure, and those warnings are now closer than ever as the latest COVID-19 wave continues to wash over the region.

Should L.A. County remain in the high COVID-19 community level, which is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the next two Thursdays, a new masking order would be issued with an effective date of July 29.

If L.A. County falls back to the medium level during either of the next two weeks, the clock would reset, pushing the earliest date for any new mask order into August.

However, given continued increases in cases — and the potential for a corresponding rise in hospitalizations over the weeks to come — “at this point, it’s much more likely that we will stay in ‘high’ for these two weeks,” said county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

“With the high rates of transmission fueling the increased risks, sensible safety precautions that can slow down the spread of the virus are warranted, and that includes universal indoor masking,” she said Thursday.

A renewed mandate would apply indoors for those 2 and older at a familiar 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.

Importantly, though, masks would not be required for those using outdoor spaces, as the risk of transmission in those settings is significantly lower than it is indoors.

Patrons also would be able to take off their masks indoors when actively eating or drinking.

Though the county is still a few weeks away from possibly mandating indoor masking, health officials have strongly recommended the practice for months — and continue to do so.

“We are not closing anything down. We are not asking people not to gather with the people they love. We are not asking you to forgo activities you love,” Ferrer said. “We’re asking you to take a sensible step when there’s this much transmission, with a highly transmissible variant, to go ahead and put back on a well-fitting, high-filtration mask when you’re indoors around others. And I think that’s the prudent thing to do.”

The CDC’s COVID-19 community level is a three-tier measurement of coronavirus transmission and hospital impact. For counties in the worst category on that scale, high, the CDC recommends indoor public masking.

Being in the high community level means L.A. County has observed at least 10 new weekly coronavirus-positive hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents. The latest rate was 10.5 new weekly hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents, according to the county Department of Public Health.

That’s up from a rate of 8.4 the previous week, according to the county. (Last week’s combined rate for L.A. and Orange counties, which was published by the CDC, was 9.7.)

Los Angeles County hasn’t been in the high community level since late February.

As of Wednesday, 1,202 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized countywide — more than double the total recorded a month ago.

And the rate of rise has steepened, with the daily patient census swelling 52% since the end of June.

Fueling this renewed stream of hospitalizations is stubbornly high transmission driven by highly infectious Omicron subvariants, chief among them BA.5. Los Angeles County has averaged about 6,400 coronavirus cases a day over the last week — its highest rate since early February.

The number of weekly reported COVID-19 deaths has also doubled over the last month, from 50 to 100.

Officials say BA.5, thought to be the dominant version of the coronavirus circulating nationwide, is not only more contagious than previous versions but also has increased the risk of reinfection — perhaps just weeks after an earlier case.

According to federal estimates, BA.5 accounted for 65% of the nation’s coronavirus cases over the weeklong period ending Saturday, an astonishing climb from a month ago, when it made up 17% of cases.

“Many people feel like the risk is a lot lower right now, and there’s no need to worry. We’re saying there is need to worry,” Ferrer said. “This variant is, as everybody has noted, highly infectious, easily transmitted from person to person. We need an additional layer of protection, and this is the additional layer.”

There are still a number of settings where masking remains mandatory, including healthcare and long-term care facilities, emergency shelters, cooling centers, jails and prisons, and at worksites experiencing a coronavirus outbreak. L.A. County, unlike the state as a whole, also requires face coverings when aboard public transit or in indoor transportation hubs such as airports.

However, should the county move ahead with a wider indoor mask mandate, it will do so alone. No other California counties currently have public indoor mask mandates, although the state Department of Public Health strongly recommends — but does not require — the practice.

As a result, some have questioned the wisdom of L.A. County’s approach, as well as whether there’d be widespread compliance with new rules. The only other county that reinstituted indoor masking during this latest wave, Alameda, rescinded the order three weeks later, and the efficacy of that short-lived mandate has been called into question.

Some experts, though, have noted that Alameda County’s mask mandate was the only time a lone county in the San Francisco Bay Area has issued a mask order without other major counties doing so as well. As a result, the order received significantly less attention in the region, affecting just 1.6 million residents among 7.7 million who live in the Bay Area.

By contrast, an order from L.A. County would instantly affect 10 million residents, give or take the roughly 600,000 residents of Long Beach and Pasadena. Those two cities have their own public health departments and can decide independently whether to align with the county’s rules.

Ferrer pointed to studies suggesting universal masking orders have been effective at reducing viral transmission.

One, published in February in the journal Health Affairs, said that of more than 400 U.S. counties, those with mask mandates between March and October 2020 had coronavirus case rates 35% lower than those without.

A second, published in March by the CDC, said school districts in Arkansas with universal mask requirements from August to October 2021 had a 23% lower coronavirus case incidence than districts without a mask order.

And another report, published by the CDC in February, said consistent use of a high-quality face covering — such as an N95 or KN95 respirator — in indoor public settings was associated with 83% lower odds of testing positive for the coronavirus, compared with those who didn’t wear a mask.

Ferrer acknowledged that, for many, reinstituting an indoor mask order “will feel like a step backward” and that for others it will “feel unnecessary because of the availability of powerful vaccines and therapeutics.”

“The reality is that because we’re living with a mutating SARS-CoV-2 virus, there remains uncertainty around the trajectory of this pandemic,” she said. “The best way to manage the uncertainty, and to reduce morbidity and mortality, is to remain open to using both the sophisticated tools we now have — our tests, our vaccines, our therapeutics — and the non-pharmaceutical strategies, masking ventilation and distancing, to layer on protections to respond to the conditions at hand.”

Ferrer said the next two weeks will be spent reaching out to businesses “so that they’re clear about their need to both supply those masks for all of their employees, make sure that their employees are masked appropriately indoors, and to do their best to message to their customers.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Los Angeles County has acted alone. A year ago — on July 17, 2021 — the county reissued a universal mask mandate in response to the Delta variant, which lasted through March 4. A number of other California counties followed L.A. County’s lead in the subsequent weeks.

Local health officials in other parts of the state have not indicated they’re considering a new mask order, and some have said they don’t anticipate implementing new orders more stringent than those required by the state.

L.A. County health officials plan to lift the mask order once the county dips back into the medium COVID-19 community level for two consecutive weeks.

L.A. County coronavirus weekly death rate 70% higher than in Bay Area: Why so much worse?

With Los Angeles County set to decide in the coming days whether to impose a new mask mandate, one factor of note is a rise in coronavirus deaths.L.A. County’s weekly COVID-19 death rate is significantly higher than that of the San Francisco Bay Area. On a per-capita basis, L.A. County was recording 96 deaths a week for every 10 million residents, while the Bay Area was recording 56 deaths a week for every 10 million residents.In other words, L.A. County’s latest weekly COVID-19 death rate is more than 70% higher th...

With Los Angeles County set to decide in the coming days whether to impose a new mask mandate, one factor of note is a rise in coronavirus deaths.

L.A. County’s weekly COVID-19 death rate is significantly higher than that of the San Francisco Bay Area. On a per-capita basis, L.A. County was recording 96 deaths a week for every 10 million residents, while the Bay Area was recording 56 deaths a week for every 10 million residents.

In other words, L.A. County’s latest weekly COVID-19 death rate is more than 70% higher than the rate in the Bay Area.

The two regions’ death rates had been closer to each other through parts of June. But something changed in July, and there was a dramatic rise in L.A. County’s death rate not matched by that in the Bay Area.

There are various reasons that could explain why L.A. County has a higher death rate. The nation’s most populous county, L.A. County is structurally at higher risk from COVID-19 waves due to a higher rate of poverty and overcrowded housing. Additionally, vaccination and booster rates are generally higher in the Bay Area, and anecdotally, some have observed that voluntary masking seems more common in the Bay Area than in L.A. County.

Since the start of the pandemic, L.A. County has been among the hardest-hit counties in California. Of the state’s 15 most populous counties, L.A. County has one of the worst cumulative COVID-19 death rates — about 3,200 dead for every million residents. (San Bernardino County has an even worse rate, of about 3,700 dead for every million residents.)

By contrast, the Bay Area’s cumulative death rate is far lower than that of L.A. County. The Bay Area’s cumulative death rate is roughly 1,200 dead for every million residents.

L.A. County could impose a new universal indoor mask mandate for public settings as soon as Friday, although Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has raised the possibility of postponing such a decision should pandemic conditions significantly improve in the coming days. The Bay Area is not currently publicly considering a mask mandate.

When Ferrer was asked at a news briefing last week why her agency’s approach to a possible mask mandate differed from that of other counties in the state, she pointed to factors that have left L.A. County particularly vulnerable, including its size and population of 10 million, 2 million of whom remain unvaccinated.

The county is also home to many older residents generally at higher risk of severe health outcomes from COVID-19, as well as nursing homes and industrial work settings where transmission can be particularly problematic.

Data also continue to show that COVID-19 is taking a disproportionate toll on Black and Latino residents as well as people living in poorer areas of L.A. County.

“Getting transmission levels down low benefits everybody, but it particularly reduces risks for those most vulnerable,” Ferrer said.

In L.A. County, hospitalization rates have grown much faster in recent weeks for older residents.

“When people pass along misinformation that the current COVID surge is not affecting or hurting anyone, these are the people they are dismissing: our elders,” Ferrer said.

Weekly coronavirus cases are showing early signs of a decrease in Los Angeles County, but it’s too soon to say whether it’s a blip or the beginning of a sustained trend.

As of Monday afternoon, L.A. County was averaging about 6,100 coronavirus cases a day over the previous week, down 11% from the prior week’s average of nearly 6,900 cases a day. On a per-capita basis, the latest rate is 425 cases a week for every 100,000 residents. A case rate of 100 or more is considered high.

This is the largest week-over-week decline in cases in a month. But the future remains uncertain. A similar decline in mid-June ended up being temporary, only to be followed by more weeks of even steeper increases in cases.

The coming days will probably be critical in determining whether L.A. County implements a mask mandate starting Friday.

Ferrer said last week that if a steep decline in cases emerges this week, her agency is likely to pause the implementation of a universal mask order for indoor public settings.

Officials also are closely watching to see whether the rate of new weekly coronavirus-positive hospital admissions improves.

A key metric that would determine whether L.A. County remains headed toward a mask mandate is whether there are 10 or more new weekly coronavirus-positive hospital admissions for every 100,000 residents. L.A. County on Thursday reported the rate was 11.4.

Citing new data available through Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that rate had fallen to exactly 10.

Throughout this late spring and summer pandemic wave, most public health officials in Bay Area counties have not publicly suggested the need for a renewed local mask mandate. The lone exception, Alameda County, rescinded its own mask mandate three weeks after implementing it on June 3. Because the other highly populated Bay Area counties did not join with Alameda County’s decision, its mask mandate attracted significantly less attention in the Bay Area.

Since the beginning of May, L.A. County’s COVID-19 death rate over a 12-week period has grown to far exceed that of the Bay Area.

From May 1 through Friday, L.A. County has recorded 664 COVID-19 deaths, and the Bay Area, 389 deaths. On a per capita basis, that means — over this 12-week period — L.A. County has recorded 658 deaths for every 10 million residents, while the Bay Area has reported 464 deaths for every 10 million residents.

In other words, if L.A. County had the Bay Area’s death rate, L.A. County would have recorded nearly 30% fewer deaths — about 200 fewer fatalities — over the last 12 weeks.

And if the Bay Area had L.A. County’s death rate, the Bay Area would’ve had more than 40% more deaths — about an additional 160 fatalities — over the same time period.

The calculations for the Bay Area include nine counties adjacent to the San Francisco Bay and also Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, which matches the state Department of Public Health’s definition for the region.

Southern California housing prices will fall, some experts say. The question is how much

Rising mortgage rates have slowed the housing market across the nation and Southern California. Sales are down, inventory is rising and many prospective buyers and sellers have a simple question: Will home prices fall?According to some analysts, the prospect is growing more likely as the slowdown deepens, with some now adjusting their forecasts to call for price declines next year.Such predictions mark a shift from earlier this year, when there was greater expert agreement that rising mortgage rates would ...

Rising mortgage rates have slowed the housing market across the nation and Southern California. Sales are down, inventory is rising and many prospective buyers and sellers have a simple question: Will home prices fall?

According to some analysts, the prospect is growing more likely as the slowdown deepens, with some now adjusting their forecasts to call for price declines next year.

Such predictions mark a shift from earlier this year, when there was greater expert agreement that rising mortgage rates would simply slow price appreciation. That is: Prices would keep climbing but less than they had in the last two years.

Many analysts still see that slower-growth scenario as more likely. Few well-known experts — if any — predict price declines anywhere near what happened during the Great Recession.

But the fact some major forecasters now foresee sustained price declines — something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade — underscores just how quickly the housing market is changing.

“It’s noteworthy,” said Jordan Levine, chief economist at the California Assn. of Realtors. “Prices are going to go down.”

Levine said it was just over the last month that he became convinced prices would turn negative.

Two factors helped shift his view. First, he ran the numbers on how much repeated surges in mortgage rates affected purchasing power. Then he saw prospective buyers pull back in real time.

Mortgage rates started the year in the low 3% range but had risen above 4.5% by late March, surpassed 5% in April and surged to nearly 6% this month, according to Freddie Mac’s closely observed mortgage survey.

For a $760,000 house, the current median price in Southern California, that means a monthly mortgage payment in early January would’ve been $3,493, including property tax and insurance, with a 20% down payment, according to a Redfin mortgage calculator.

In March, that payment was $506 more expensive; in April, $655 more; and as of last week it was nearly $1,000 higher at $4,428.

A growing number of home sellers have responded to waning demand by dropping their list prices, a first step if overall sales prices are going to fall in the future.

Levine is still putting the final touches on a forecast to be released in July. But for now, he expects the California median sales price for all of 2022 to be up 9.7% from a year earlier, a sharp slowdown from the nearly 20% growth seen in 2021.

Then in 2023, he expects the Federal Reserve’s actions to fight inflation will cause a mild recession and the combination of job losses and higher rates will cause the statewide median price to fall 7.1% compared with this year, with similar declines in Southern California specifically.

Others that recently shifted forecasts to include home price declines in 2023 are Capital Economics, an international economic research firm, and John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine.

In May, John Burns started forecasting that both national and Southern California prices would decline next year, in part because the firm sees a recession as increasingly likely.

In 2023, the consulting firm expects declines in the mid single digits in Los Angeles and Orange counties and for prices to fall in the high single digit range in the Inland Empire.

The firm forecasts prices will drop at a somewhat smaller rate in 2024 both locally and nationally, before rising slightly in 2025.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said prices could fall even absent a recession.

If rates don’t jump “meaningfully over 6% for an extended period” and the economy avoids a recession, Southern California home prices should be largely flat over the next few years, though some communities that saw dramatic pandemic booms could see declines.

But if rates rise to around 6.25% or 6.5% and hold there, Zandi said, Southern California prices would probably fall around 5% without a recession and potentially as much as 10% with a recession.

He said the most likely scenario is flat prices, but if he were an odds maker he’d say there’s a 40% probability of Southern California home prices falling at least 5% from peak to trough, up from a 25% chance in May.

He and other experts said it’s extremely unlikely home prices would collapse like they did during the Great Recession.

In large part, that’s because many current owners don’t like to sell for less than their neighbor did a few months ago, which experts predict will limit price declines.

Things were different last time around. Risky lending during the early 2000s housing bubble caused a wave of foreclosures and sparked a financial crisis, sending Southern California prices down 50% from 2007 to 2009, according to numbers from DQNews.

Now, most economists think any recession would be mild. Tighter lending standards also mean those buying their homes during this boom could largely afford them and far fewer people will be forced to unload their properties, experts said.

Plus, there’s a large cohort of millennials in their early 30s looking to buy a home for the first time.

“There won’t be as many foreclosures and distressed sales, which is what you need to get prices way down,” Zandi said.

California cities ban new gas stations in battle to combat climate change

Without realizing they were starting a movement in green energy policy, leaders of a small Sonoma County city seem to have done just that when they questioned the approval process for a new gas station — eventually halting its development and others in the future.“We didn’t know what we were doing, actually,” said Petaluma Councilwoman D’Lynda Fischer, who led the charge last year ...

Without realizing they were starting a movement in green energy policy, leaders of a small Sonoma County city seem to have done just that when they questioned the approval process for a new gas station — eventually halting its development and others in the future.

“We didn’t know what we were doing, actually,” said Petaluma Councilwoman D’Lynda Fischer, who led the charge last year to prohibit new gas stations in the city of 60,000. “We didn’t know we were the first in the world when we banned gas stations.”

Since Petaluma’s decision, four other cities in the Bay Area have followed suit, and now, leaders in California’s most car-centric metropolis are hoping to bring the climate-conscious policy to Southern California.

It opens a new front in California’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and already is generating opposition from the fuel industry, which argues consumers would suffer.

“It’s really up to cities to turn around climate change,” said Andy Shrader, director of environmental affairs for Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, who proposed L.A. work toward its own ban on new gas stations. While the motion hasn’t gained traction, Shrader and other council leaders expect a hearing on the matter this summer.

“L.A.’s enormous and damaging ecological footprint really helped set us on this path,” Shrader said at a recent conference about gas station prohibitions across California. “If you have lung cancer, you stop smoking; if your planet’s on fire, you stop pouring gasoline on it.”

While Petaluma officials at the time called its new gas pump ban “completely uncontroversial,” it’s unclear how such a policy would go over in Los Angeles, a city with about 65 times as many people and a transportation infrastructure that still heavily relies on vehicles. Lobbyists for gas stations said they will oppose the motion in L.A. if it moves forward.

But Koretz said such a ban would better prepare the city for a future that doesn’t rely on fossil fuel-powered vehicles, which California has pledged to stop selling by 2035.

“Given Gov. Newsom’s timeline to end the sale of gas vehicles by 2035, gas stations are a dying business,” Koretz said. “Their toxic chemicals take years and millions of dollars to clean up.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about half of the nation’s 450,000 brownfields — sites containing hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants — is property compromised by the presence or potential presence of petroleum, much of it leaking from old gas stations.

Koretz’s proposal — which calls on the city to continue “leading the way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution” — would task city officials to draft an ordinance to prohibit any new fossil-fuel pumps in the city and require that “any expansions of current gas stations to be limited to serving zero-emissions vehicles and providing non-fuel-related facilities.”

It would not affect any stations’ current operations.

“Taking the commonsense step of halting new stations and helping existing stations transform their business models ensures we are protecting our small-business owners and making sure the city doesn’t end up footing the bill to clean up a bunch of toxic stranded assets in the relatively near future,” Koretz said.

For some, like Karen Huh, who said she sees four gas stations at some intersections near her South L.A. home, the idea makes sense.

“I think we have enough, to be honest — more than enough,” the 28-year-old said while filling her tank on South Vermont Avenue. She also said, given current gas prices, she’s been researching buying an electric or hybrid car once she pays off her SUV in the next few months.

Troy Walker, 49, said he also would like to switch to an electric car, but their skyrocketing prices have put the idea on the back burner. Still, he said he’d have no qualms about the city banning new gas stations, especially given what he knows about climate change — which he learned about during a sustainability course.

“If people were more educated, they would be more aware and would oppose the new gas stations,” Walker said, filing up his tank at a recently opened 7-Eleven on West Century Boulevard, one of the few new stations permitted by L.A. in recent years.

From 2016 to summer 2021, Los Angeles approved permits for only one or two new gas stations a year, except in 2017, when three were approved, according to data provided to The Times by Koretz’s office. It wasn’t immediately clear whether any were permitted in the last year, as the city’s Department of Building and Safety did not immediately fulfill a records request for additional information.

“I’m concerned about the ozone layer for the future of my kids,” Walker said. “It’s definitely going to affect the younger generation.”

Brian Mullins, though, said he’d rather local officials focus on ramping up electric power infrastructure than halting new gas stations. He pointed out the pumps have a limited lifespan, which means they eventually need to be replaced.

“How long before you don’t have enough gas stations?” Mullins, 62, asked, while filling up at a station in Westchester.

Koretz’s motion, which was seconded by Councilman Kevin de León, was introduced in May 2021 but tabled by the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee in September without much discussion. City leaders now say they expect a full hearing in August.

Five neighborhood councils — Westside, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Echo Park and North Westwood — submitted statements in support of the motion, at least three of which voted unanimously to support the proposal, city records show. Only one person addressed the idea during public comments in September, questioning why the city wouldn’t “lead by example and convert the entire city’s fleet to nonfossil fuel-burning before [officials] make life more difficult for everyone else in the city?”

At least one other nearby city — West Hollywood — is also considering restricting new gas stations. Its city council approved a directive in April 2021 for officials to evaluate the plan before developing a law. West Hollywood spokesperson Sheri Lunn said the proposal is set for subcommittee review, and if approvals continue, it could see a full council vote by the end of the year.

Los Angeles County had just over 2,000 gas stations in 2020, according to data from the California Energy Commission. The commission does not track city-level data.

In 2020, about 2,750 million gallons of gasoline were sold in L.A. County, according to commission data — about three times that of any other county in California. In 2019, before the pandemic affected travel and commutes, L.A. County gas sales totaled 3,600 million gallons, state data show.

As more cities consider the bans, the California Fuels & Convenience Alliance, which lobbies for gas station owners, will continue opposing the proposals, said Sam Bayless, the alliance’s policy director. He mainly worries about how market limits could further increase gas prices and how an outright ban could affect a city’s development.

“Not being able to serve the people who live there, who are commuting to work, picking up their kids from soccer practice … is really a disservice to the people who are new to the area,” Bayless said.

While he called the future of gas stations a complicated issue given the climate crisis, he said they are still an “essential service,” as electric and other energy sources haven’t filled the gap, especially for low- and middle-income Californians.

But opposition hasn’t affected the movement’s success for leaders in Rohnert Park and Sebastopol, both small cities in Sonoma County that passed new gas station bans, as well as neighboring cities American Canyon and Calistoga. Officials in other California cities, as well as in New York and British Columbia, have said they are developing similar legislation, motivated to limit reliance on fossil-fuel infrastructure.

“We cannot even think twice about the banning of the gas station,” Rohnert Park Mayor Jackie Elward said. “Why would we want more fossil fuel pollutions with costly cleanup of more gas stations when we have enough, and California won’t even have gas cars for sale by 2035?”

But Kevin Slagle, a spokesperson for Western States Petroleum Assn., which lobbies on behalf of oil and gas companies, said he worries how bans can have “unintended consequences.”

Bans will just make it harder for consumers to find fuel, Slagle said. “Taking what we’re facing today — a lot of demand and not a lot of supply — if you start taking stations out, new and existing, if you make a commodity tougher to find, that often means higher costs,” he said.

Shrader said the idea that banning gas stations could affect fuel prices is “nonsense.”

“Los Angeles is completely saturated with gas stations already, and a few more or less stations won’t make any difference in overall price,” he said.

Leaders with Stand.earth, an environmental advocacy group pushing the gas station bans, argue that air and soil pollution — which disproportionately affect low-income communities of color — as well as the difficult process to clean up abandoned pumps should be reason enough to prohibit new stations.

“The real question now that’s coming up as we ban new gas stations: What do we do with our old gas station sites?” said Fischer, the Petaluma councilmember. “Because they’re going to take a lot to clean up. ... That’s the next wave of this: thinking about what’s to come.”

L.A. County goes it alone in push for new coronavirus mask rules, igniting familiar debate

Sustained growth in coronavirus-positive hospitalizations has Los Angeles County on the brink of a new public indoor mask mandate, a move officials say could help curb still-widespread transmission, but it has raised some concerns among business groups and sparked questions about its necessity.Though the count remains well below the peaks of earlier surges, hospitalizations have swelled. In L.A. County, 1,299 coronavirus-positive patients ...

Sustained growth in coronavirus-positive hospitalizations has Los Angeles County on the brink of a new public indoor mask mandate, a move officials say could help curb still-widespread transmission, but it has raised some concerns among business groups and sparked questions about its necessity.

Though the count remains well below the peaks of earlier surges, hospitalizations have swelled. In L.A. County, 1,299 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized as of Monday — up 60% since the start of the month. The story is much the same in intensive care units, where the latest daily census, 137, is far below the highs of previous waves but has increased almost 51% since July 1.

Although they’re not as high as during the peak of previous waves, the current number of coronavirus-positive patients in ICUs is roughly the same as when L.A. County last implemented an indoor mask mandate, on July 17, 2021. On that date, there were 134 coronavirus-positive patients in intensive care units.

Deaths have dramatically increased, too, but still remain far below the last wave. Over the last month, weekly COVID-19 death rates in L.A. County have roughly doubled.

The decision L.A. County public health officials have had to grapple with is whether to implement a mask mandate, and at what point to do so.

There are a significant number of people who have become infected but are not falling severely ill and ICUs are less crowded than in previous waves. The availability of vaccines and treatments and changes with the virus itself are also helping.

But the soaring rate of both cases and coronavirus-positive hospitalizations is worrying local public health officials.

In parts of California, infections may have reached levels higher than the initial Omicron wave, based on data emerging from coronavirus levels in wastewater. In Los Angeles County, some emergency rooms and community clinics are growing increasingly strapped, the number of nursing homes seeing significant outbreaks have dramatically increased and more workplaces are seeing clusters of cases.

And L.A. County health officials are quite concerned about the notable increase in weekly deaths, a pattern that has not been seen in other parts of the state.

The point of a mask mandate is to prevent significant harm to public health, local officials say, following significant warning signs in L.A. County, which has a large number of vulnerable, lower-income people.

Here is what we know:

Where does L.A. County stand?

L.A. County on Thursday reported 10.5 new coronavirus-positive hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents — enough to land the nation’s most populous county in the high COVID-19 community level defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Should it remain in that category for the next two Thursdays, a new masking order would be issued with an effective date of July 29.

However, if the county moves back to the medium level during either of the next two weeks, the clock would reset, pushing the earliest date for any new mask order into August.

At the end of June, roughly 20% of coronavirus-positive patients at L.A. County’s four public hospitals were being treated for COVID-19 illnesses. At all hospitals — public and private — about 42% of coronavirus-positive patients are being seen for a COVID-19 illness. Statewide, the share is about 50%.

New data show the county’s coronavirus case rate continues to rise. It is now averaging about 6,900 coronavirus cases a day, nearly double the peak rate from last summer’s Delta surge and 27% higher than the previous week.

On a per capita basis, L.A. County’s case rate is 476 cases a week for every 100,000 residents.

Given continued increases in cases — and the potential for a corresponding rise in hospitalizations in the weeks to come — “at this point, it’s much more likely that we will stay in ‘high’ for these two weeks,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week.

COVID-19 deaths across L.A. County have increased significantly in the last month, from about 50 a week to between 88 and 100. That’s the first significant increase since the end of the winter Omicron wave. During the peak of that surge, weekly deaths topped 500.

California is recording about 21,000 coronavirus cases a day, up 16% from the prior week. On a per capita basis, the state is reporting 368 cases a week for every 100,000 residents and roughly 255 COVID-19 deaths per week.

What would a new mandate look like?

A renewed masking rule would apply indoors for those 2 and older at numerous venues — including shared office space, manufacturing and retail settings, event spaces, restaurants and bars, gyms and yoga studios, educational settings and children’s programs.

Masks would not be required for those using outdoor spaces, as the risk of transmission in those settings is significantly lower.

Patrons also would be able to take off masks indoors when actively eating or drinking.

Though the county still has not pulled the trigger on a mandate, health officials have strongly recommended the practice for months — and continue to do so.

Ferrer said the period ahead of the potential issuance of a mandate will be spent reaching out to businesses “so that they’re clear about their need to both supply those masks for all of their employees, make sure that their employees are masked appropriately indoors, and to do their best to message to their customers.”

What are the concerns?

Some have questioned the wisdom of L.A. County’s approach, as well as whether there’d be widespread compliance with any new masking rules.

Maria Salinas, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jessica Lall, president and chief executive of the Central City Assn., a downtown business group, sent a letter to Ferrer last week expressing concerns.

Requiring masks, they wrote, “puts employees in the increasingly challenging position of enforcing a mandate that many customers no longer wish to — or are unwilling to — comply with.”

“L.A.’s restaurants, retail stores, museums, amusement parks, sports centers and so many other establishments are working every day to recover from the pandemic, all while facing workforce shortages, supply chain challenges and more,” they wrote. “Businesses should not be expected to enforce a mask mandate in addition to these ongoing constraints. Businesses cannot shoulder this burden of compliance alone as they have been required to do so in the past.”

If L.A. County does mandate indoor public masking, and no other counties follow suit, “residents and visitors may choose to take their spending power to businesses in other parts of Southern California, which would only harm our local economy,” they wrote.

No other California counties currently have public indoor mask mandates. The state Department of Public Health strongly recommends — but does not require — the practice.

The only other county that reinstituted indoor masking during this latest wave, Alameda, rescinded it three weeks later, and the efficacy of that short-lived mandate has been called into question.

Some experts, though, have noted that Alameda County’s mask mandate was the only time a lone county in the San Francisco Bay Area has issued a mask order without other major counties doing so as well.

COVID outbreaks hit TSA, American and Southwest airlines at LAX

COVID-19 outbreaks have hit Los Angeles International Airport with at least 400 confirmed cases among Transportation Security Administration staff and workers at American and Southwest airlines, according to county health officials.At least 233 TSA staffers at LAX have tested positive for the coronavirus since an outbreak was first detected among workers June 9, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health....

COVID-19 outbreaks have hit Los Angeles International Airport with at least 400 confirmed cases among Transportation Security Administration staff and workers at American and Southwest airlines, according to county health officials.

At least 233 TSA staffers at LAX have tested positive for the coronavirus since an outbreak was first detected among workers June 9, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The TSA outbreak would be the largest active outbreak being monitored by the department, which records outbreaks at residential care facilities, workplaces, food and retail stores, homeless service locations, schools, jails, law enforcement settings and courts.

TSA officials, however, said the county’s numbers were not reflective of current infections.

“Our infection rate for LAX is being inaccurately reported by about seven times higher than we are currently seeing in our operation,” a TSA official said.

TSA refused to provide current infection numbers, saying it no longer provides such data “because they are consistent with community spread patterns.” The agency confirmed that the numbers used by the L.A. County Department of Public Health were provided by local TSA officials at LAX.

The county’s outbreak data reflect cases that have been reported since the beginning of the active outbreak, and include cases where the patient has since recovered, according to the Department of Public Health.

Despite the number of cases being reported, LAX and TSA officials said services have not been affected because of them.

“There has not been any effect to security lines at LAX,” said Daniel D. Velez, a spokesperson for TSA.

On Sunday, the maximum standard waiting time for a traveler at the airport was 21 minutes, and 99% of travelers were able to go through screenings in less than 15 minutes, Velez said.

The outbreaks among airport workers come as the entire county is facing elevated levels of infections and a possible renewed requirement of indoor masking if the high number of cases persists.

As of Friday, L.A. County was facing an average of about 6,600 new cases a day over the last week.

TSA officials point out rates among staff will often reflect what is happening locally, and workers are continuing to follow masking guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who feel sick are told to stay home and report confirmed COVID-19 infections.

According to county health officials, workers for American Airlines at LAX are also experiencing an outbreak of their own, with 154 confirmed cases among staff.

A spokesperson for American Airlines said the 154 infections were cases that have been reported since May 6, and reflect about 2% of the 7,000 employees at LAX. Many of them, the spokesperson said, have already recovered and returned to work.

“The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority,” the airline said in a statement. “We have been in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Los Angeles County Public Health officials throughout the pandemic and will continue to coordinate with them on all required health and safety-related measures.”

In LAX’s Terminal 1, Southwest Airlines workers have seen 28 confirmed cases among staff.

“LA County continues to show high COVID-19 community level transmission and we are experiencing COVID cases within our LAX Employee work groups,” the airline said in a statement. “We continue to follow COVID-19 Guidelines and are not seeing significant impact within our LAX operations.”

Victoria Spilabotte, a spokesperson for LAX, said operations at the airport are still running as normal.

LAX still requires travelers to wear face masks in the airport, but relaxed rules for travel have meant that many airlines no longer require masks for domestic travel.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines, for example, make masks optional for travelers when traveling within the U.S.

L.A. Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plans’ Community Resource Centers Distribute Free Backpacks and School Supplies in July and August

LOS ANGELES (July 8, 2022) – L.A. Care and Blue Shield of California Promise health plans announced today they will distribute up to 33,000 free backpacks filled with school supplies for Los Angeles County students from kindergarten through college in July and August. This is the third year in a row that the two health plans have held this backpack event series.The back-to-school giveaway events come as rising inflation is putting more financial strain on families. The events are open to the public, and they will take place in l...

LOS ANGELES (July 8, 2022) – L.A. Care and Blue Shield of California Promise health plans announced today they will distribute up to 33,000 free backpacks filled with school supplies for Los Angeles County students from kindergarten through college in July and August. This is the third year in a row that the two health plans have held this backpack event series.

The back-to-school giveaway events come as rising inflation is putting more financial strain on families. The events are open to the public, and they will take place in locations throughout Los Angeles County, including the health plans’ jointly operated Community Resource Centers, from July 9 to August 13, 2022. Six of the 11 events will also feature free tote bags filled with groceries.

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, seven out of 10 Americans view inflation as the top problem facing the country, and the current price of many consumer goods has increased at the fastest year-over-year rate in four decades.

L.A. Care and Blue Shield Promise recognize this is an especially difficult time for low-income communities, and the back-to school events are the latest example of how the health plans’ Community Resource Centers are addressing social determinants of health, such as income security.

“With more families feeling the pinch of inflation everywhere from the supermarket to the gas station, we are glad to alleviate some of the costs associated with gearing up for a new school year,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “Families should be focused on school readiness, and not on what supplies they can skimp on to make ends meet.”

To best serve a large turnout of attendees, eight of the 11 events will be held at locations that can accommodate both drive-through and walk-up formats. Three events will be held at the Community Resource Centers in Inglewood, Norwalk, and Metro L.A. (Koreatown).

“We want to bring some peace of mind to families impacted by rising costs due to inflation, and to provide students across L.A. County with backpacks, food, and other necessary school supplies to help ensure a successful school year,” said James Cruz, MD and chief medical officer for Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. “Through these back-to-school events, everyone can also learn about the vital resources available at our Community Resources Centers to help them live a healthy life.”

The L.A. Care and Blue Shield Promise Community Resource Centers offer a range of free classes, programs and services that aim to improve the health and well-being of their members and surrounding communities, which includes addressing social needs. To learn more about the Community Resource Centers, visit activehealthyinformed.org.

The following is a list of the 2022 back-to-school events hosted by L.A. Care and Blue Shield Promise.

Saturday, July 9 | drive-thru/walk-up 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Palomares Park 499 E. Arrow Hwy., Pomona, CA 91767

Friday, July 15 | drive-thru/walk-up 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Lynwood High School 4050 E. Imperial Hwy., Lynwood, CA 90262

Saturday, July 16 | drive-thru/walk-up Will include food giveaway 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. USC Health Sciences Campus Parking Lot P10 1701 Zonal Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90033 (corner of Zonal and State St.)

Friday, July 22 | drive-thru/walk-up Will include food giveaway 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Palmdale High School (football field parking lot on 20th St. East between Ave. R and Palmdale Blvd.) 2137 E. Ave. R Palmdale, CA 93550

Saturday, July 23 | drive-thru/walk-up 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Serra Medical Group 375 San Fernando Road, Sun Valley, CA 91352

Friday, July 29 | drive-thru/walk-up Will include food giveaway 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. East L.A. College (stadium lot at 2000 Bleakwood Ave.) Monterey Park, CA 91754 (corner of Bleakwood Ave. and W. Floral Dr.)

Saturday, July 30 | drive-thru/walk-up 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. El Monte High School 3048 Tyler Ave., El Monte, CA 91731

Saturday, July 30 | walk-up only Will include food giveaway 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Community Resource Center in Metro L.A. (Koreatown) 1233 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90006

Friday, August 5 | walk-up only 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Community Resource Center in Inglewood 2864 W. Imperial Hwy., Inglewood, CA 90303

Saturday, August 6 | walk-up only Will include food giveaway 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Community Resource Center in Norwalk 11721 Rosecrans Ave., Norwalk, CA 90650

Saturday, August 13 | drive-thru/walk-up Will include food giveaway 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Banning Senior High School 527 Lakme Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90744

About L.A. Care Health Plan L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.5 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's vulnerable and low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, visit lacare.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

About Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan is a managed care organization, wholly owned by Blue Shield of California, offering Medi-Cal and Cal MediConnect. It is led by healthcare professionals with a “members-first” philosophy and committed to building a quality network of providers and partnering with community organizations For more information about Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, please visit www.blueshieldca.com/promise. For more news about Blue Shield of California, please visit www.news.blueshieldca.com. Or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

Media Contacts: L.A. Care - Penny Griego (310) 613-8309 pgriego@lacare.org

Blue Shield Promise - Olga Gallardo (323) 537-6364 olga.gallardo@blueshieldca.com

Historic Concert Presented By Chamber Music Los Angeles Celebrates LA's Vibrant Chamber Music Scene, August 28

First-ever concert presentation by CMLA showcases all six collective members on the same stage.Chamber Music LA (CMLA), a unique Los Angeles-based collective of six leading presenters reflecting LA's vibrant chamber music landscape, announces Music Box 2022, a historic concert marking the first-ever live concert presentation by CMLA, showcasing all six music organizations, on Sunday, August 28, 2022, 3 pm, at Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles.The collective, established in 2017, includes Camerata Pacifica, Colburn School, J...

First-ever concert presentation by CMLA showcases all six collective members on the same stage.

Chamber Music LA (CMLA), a unique Los Angeles-based collective of six leading presenters reflecting LA's vibrant chamber music landscape, announces Music Box 2022, a historic concert marking the first-ever live concert presentation by CMLA, showcasing all six music organizations, on Sunday, August 28, 2022, 3 pm, at Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles.

The collective, established in 2017, includes Camerata Pacifica, Colburn School, Jacaranda Music, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), Pittance Chamber Music, and Salastina. The concert, a celebration of chamber music in LA carefully curated to show the diversity of this passionate and intimate form of classical music, offers a journey through the centuries with chamber music that spans Baroque to the modern era performed by celebrated artists and award-winning young musicians, giving the flavor of each organization's individual approach to chamber music.

Salastina's contribution to Music Box 2022 spotlights Co-Founders/violinists Kevin Kumar and Maia Jasper White on three eclectic chamber works, among them Benedikt Brydern's virtuosic adrenaline-fueled Autobahn, a musical depiction of Germany's speed-limitless highway, and Canonic Sonata by Georg Philipp Telemann, in which each of the two parts are note-for-note identical but with staggered entrances, like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" on steroids. Kuma and White conclude with a nod to their film scoring work with their own arrangement of Carlos Gardel's famous Tango por una Cabeza made famous in the film Scent of a Woman.

Colburn School showcases the Olive Trio - winner of the 2022 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (Junior Division) and Grand Prize Winner of the 2022 Chicago International Music Competition (Rising Star Category) - on Shostakovich's first chamber work, Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor Op. 8. Formed in 2021, the Olive Trio is comprised of violinist Anaïs Feller, cellist Mira Kardan, and pianist Daniel Wang, all students in the Colburn School's Music Academy, which brings exceptional pre-college students from around the world to Colburn. The rising chamber ensemble is coached by Colburn School faculty Martin Beaver, Fabio Bidini, and Clive Greensmith.

Jacaranda Music, which produces classical music adventures designed to awaken curiosity, passion, and discovery with a spirit of inclusion, brings to the Music Box stage eminent pianist Steven Vanhauwaert, a native of Belgium. He performs the solo piano version of About The Messenger by Valentin Silvestrov, widely considered Ukraine's most famous living composer, who fled to Berlin at the outset of the Russian invasion. About the Messenger is among Silvestrov's most popular works owing to its nostalgia for Mozart. This performance repeats a highlight of Jacaranda's May 1 program, "Concert in Solidarity with Ukraine." Jacaranda gave Vanhauwaert his Los Angeles debut in 2007, a performance for which Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed hailed him for his "impressive clarity, sense of structure and monster technique."

Music Box 2022 continues with two musical offerings from Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, one of the nation's leading chamber orchestras renowned for its wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissioning initiatives. A string quartet comprised of LACO artists presents "The Cutting Garden," the second movement of Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw's Plan & Elevation: The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks. The LACO artists also perform "Allegro moderato - Très doux," the lyrical first movement of Ravel's String Quartet in F major, which the composer dedicated to his teacher, Gabriel Fauré.

Camerata Pacifica, committed to programming highly personable virtuosi on its concert series, illuminates its mission with the presentation of celebrated Korean-American pianist Soyeon Kate Lee, first prize winner of the 2010 Naumburg International Piano Competition and the 2004 Concert Artist Guild International Competition. The illustrious artist interprets Ravel's La Valse, an alluring, frightening, and exciting tour de force for the piano that depicts a unique moment in European history. Lee, a Naxos artist whose discography spans the works of Scarlatti, Liszt, Sciabin and Clementi, joined the Juilliard faculty in July 2022.

Chamber Music LA's historic Music Box 2022 "sampler" concludes with Pittance Chamber Music, known for connecting audiences with local artists who are the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Opera. The ensemble presents Franz Schubert's beloved lieder, The Shepherd on the Rock, performed by internationally-acclaimed soprano Liv Redpath, with LA Opera Principal Clarinet Stuart Clark and LA Opera Chorus Director Jeremy Frank at the piano. Redpath and Clark reprise their performance of this work from Pittance Chamber Music's January 2020 program, "Liv a Little."

Chamber Music LA owes its vision and existence to Warner Wheeler Henry (1938-2020), a chamber music lover, who, near the end of his life, aspired to realize a decades-long vision for Los Angeles' classical music scene. He marveled at the caliber of Los Angeles musicians and was passionate about making chamber music more visible and widely available. Ultimately, in 2017, he founded Chamber Music LA, an association of chamber music organizations brought together for the purpose of promoting the tremendous variety of exceptional chamber music offered in Los Angeles. Since its inception, CMLA has followed Warner's core directives - that all efforts serve the art form of chamber music, and that CMLA functions to support the participating organizations - not replace them. Chamber Music LA gratefully acknowledges Warner Henry and the Henry family for their continued leadership and vital financial support. Major financial support for Chamber Music LA has been provided by Terri + Jerry Kohl.

Tickets for Music Box 2022 are $45 and may be purchased online at https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188522®id=9&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fchambermusic.la?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1. Zipper Hall is located at Colburn School, 200 S Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

California hopes to fight global warming by pumping CO2 underground. Some call it a ruse

It’s an emerging technology that climate experts say can prevent billions of tons of greenhouse gases from entering Earth’s atmosphere.By capturing carbon dioxide as it spews from oil refineries, power plants and other industrial smokestacks and then forcing it deep underground for storage, humanity can reduce fossil fuel emissions while developing alternative energy sources, advocates say.Now, ...

It’s an emerging technology that climate experts say can prevent billions of tons of greenhouse gases from entering Earth’s atmosphere.

By capturing carbon dioxide as it spews from oil refineries, power plants and other industrial smokestacks and then forcing it deep underground for storage, humanity can reduce fossil fuel emissions while developing alternative energy sources, advocates say.

Now, as California attempts to meet ambitious climate goals, environmental officials are embracing carbon capture and storage, saying the state cannot achieve carbon neutrality without it.

But as officials prepare to finalize a state climate plan that relies on CCS technology, some environmentalists are urging officials to abandon the idea. Instead of helping to wean California off fossil fuels, they say CCS will actually increase oil production.

By forcing pressurized carbon dioxide into old wells, drillers can flush out crude that would otherwise remain beyond their reach. At the same time, oil companies can claim tax incentives and avoid financial penalties for mitigating their greenhouse gas emissions.

“If we are truly committed in California to a just transition off of fossil fuels, we should not be looking for ways to perpetuate oil extraction in old oil fields,” said Catherine Garoupa White, executive director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition.

The debate over how this technology could be deployed may prove to be a reckoning for California, a state that has long wrestled with its role as a global leader in the fight against climate change and its status as one of the nation’s top oil producers.

Already, regulators are considering more than a dozen CCS proposals that would store millions of tons of carbon dioxide beneath California’s Central Valley — the only region of the state considered practical for such storage. At least one of those proposals would be used to enhance oil production in Kern County.

The state climate plan, which will be finalized by the California Air Resources Board this fall, is silent on the use of CCS for oil production. The staff-recommended proposal calls for more than 220 million tons of carbon emissions to be stored underground in the next two decades.

Critics of the plan worry it could derail Gov. Gavin Newsom’s goal of ending all fossil fuel extraction in California by 2045.

“Because there’s nothing in the plan that talks about shutting down refining capacity or sunsetting these operations, the concern I’m hearing from people — and I think this is a legitimate concern — is that this could start us down the path of major CCS projects that lock in fossil fuel infrastructure rather than transition it responsibly to a different direction,” said Danny Cullenward, policy director of CarbonPlan, a California nonprofit that analyzes climate solutions.

Others, however, see no other way for the state to meet its climate goals. State law requires California to cut emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. A 2018 executive order by then-Gov. Jerry Brown targeted 2045 to achieve statewide carbon neutrality — the point at which all carbon dioxide emissions released by human activity are equal to the quantity of emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by natural and technological means.

Even as the state continues to incentivize the trade-in of gas-powered cars for electric vehicles, and hastens the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, proponents say carbon capture and storage will be needed as a bridge to offset emissions in the interim.

“The math doesn’t work without it, to be as succinct as possible,” said Virgil Welch, executive director of the California Carbon Capture Coalition, a consortium of CCS advocates, mostly from energy companies.

“We want to pursue strategies like carbon capture to cut emissions to support California’s climate goals,” Welch said. “And there are large portions of the environmental community that are effectively saying, ‘No thanks. We don’t want you to do that,’ which to me is mind-boggling. If you step back and think about it, you’ve got industry saying we want to reduce emissions.”

While the state plan suggests CCS will account for only a small portion of greenhouse gas reductions, the Air Resources Board says it is essential to curtail emissions in such processes as cement manufacturing — operations that cannot be electrified and powered by renewable energy. The state climate plan also calls for this technology to be installed on a majority of state oil refineries by 2030, in an effort to curb emissions while still meeting local demand for gasoline and diesel.

But this would probably require billions of dollars in investments to install equipment that would siphon carbon emissions from smokestacks and build a network of pipelines from Los Angeles and Bay Area refining hubs to the Central Valley.

In addition to the considerable costs, some public officials have raised concerns about possible leakage from pipelines and injection sites in an earthquake-prone state.

“I think we have to tip the balance to more direct emission reductions,” said Davina Hurt, a member of the Air Resources Board, at a meeting last month. “Leakage is a real issue. There’s major capital involved. And I’m concerned that we’re unwittingly extending the life and production and consumption of fossil fuels.”

Among those proposing CCS projects is California Resources Corp., an oil and gas company headquartered in Long Beach.

California Resources has proposed capturing 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually from its Elk Hills natural gas power plant about 20 miles west of Bakersfield. That’s roughly the amount of carbon dioxide that 300,000 cars will produce in a year.

The carbon dioxide would then be pumped into California Resources’ Elk Hills oil field to produce 51 million more barrels of oil over two decades, according to company estimates.

By injecting carbon emissions into its Kern County wells, the company can “effectively reverse the recent decline of oil production,” according to a government-funded study of the project.

The company — the state’s largest nongovernmental landowner — has said its efforts could lead to the first “net-zero” barrel of oil in California. However, conventional operations that use carbon dioxide to displace oil offset only 40% to 50% of emissions per barrel.

“As we envision a net-zero future, it will be necessary to leverage low carbon solutions, including more sustainable and emissions-free fuel,” company spokesman Richard Venn said.

The company has also proposed a multiphase project called Carbon TerraVault, which would store carbon dioxide from other industrial facilities. It would not be used to enhance oil extraction.

Although international climate authorities have urged the rapid scale-up of CCS systems worldwide — saying they are a crucial tool in limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius — use of the technology has lagged.

Since the first carbon capture and storage facility began operations in Norway in 1996, only 26 others have been deployed globally. The systems now sequester 40 million metric tons of carbon emissions a year — a far cry from the 1.7 billion metric tons international officials want to see by the end of this decade.

One of the main challenges to ramping up production has been the cost of equipment needed to capture and pressurize carbon dioxide, as well as the logistical hurdle of transporting the material to a storage site. The virtually liquified gas can be conveyed either through pipelines or via trucks or train.

A 2020 analysis by Stanford University identified more than 70 potential carbon dioxide capture sites across California, including facilities that refine crude oil into gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products. Most of the facilities were concentrated in Los Angeles or the Bay Area, which would require the construction of more than 100 miles of pipeline to reach the Central Valley — the safest region in the state for carbon emissions to be stored and the least susceptible to earthquakes, experts say.

Currently, there are only two pathways to finance such an undertaking: massive government subsidies or allowing private industry to fund these projects by linking them to oil wells that will produce crude, says CarbonPlan’s Cullenward.

“There is no commercial value to sticking CO2 into the ground,” Cullenward said. “The only value comes in avoiding penalties or fees, or the tax incentives that are designed to do that. But those are public policy incentives. There’s no private commercial rationale to do it.”

Eleven of 12 large-scale carbon storage facilities in the United States use captured carbon dioxide for oil production, according to a 2021 report from the Global CCS Institute, an industry group that tracks these facilities.

State Sen. Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) is sponsoring a bill that would ban using carbon storage projects to produce oil in California. She is not opposed to the technology; however, she believes it will be harder for California to meet its climate goals if carbon emissions are used to induce higher rates of oil production.

“If carbon capture is intended to be a climate strategy, it should not be in the business of creating more fossil fuels,” Limón said.

Limón and other critics note also that CCS technology would do little to reduce environmental harms suffered by those who live in the shadow of oil refineries.

Although the technology removes carbon dioxide, it would not eliminate cancer-causing benzene, smog-forming nitrogen oxides or particulate pollution that refineries emit.

That concerns Alicia Rivera, an organizer with Communities for a Better Environment. She said Los Angeles-area residents who live near refineries in the South Bay and Harbor region will continue to contend with harmful pollution, despite reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Wilmington will continue to be the hot spot and sacrifice zone. And there is no way out,” Rivera said. “New generations are going to have to endure the effect of what is already in the air. Carbon sequestration paints a very grim picture for communities that are in the front line of the fossil fuel.”

How safe are indoor dining, bars, big events as COVID slams California?

With super-infectious Omicron subvariants spreading across California, it’s hard to know what activities are still safe — or smart — to do.Experts agree that people vaccinated and up to date on booster shots are still well protected against serious disease. But given the now-dominant BA.5 subvariant, which is particularly good at evading immunity from vaccine...

With super-infectious Omicron subvariants spreading across California, it’s hard to know what activities are still safe — or smart — to do.

Experts agree that people vaccinated and up to date on booster shots are still well protected against serious disease. But given the now-dominant BA.5 subvariant, which is particularly good at evading immunity from vaccines or a recent Omicron infection, these groups are still susceptible to COVID-19.

“Everyone should be wary of it — of BA.5 and these new variants — but not afraid of it,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious-disease expert. “If you’re maximally up to date on your vaccines, it’s not going to make you very ill.”

But for those who haven’t gotten boosted or been vaccinated at all, Chin-Hong said the chance for severe illness remains a concern, even during this wave, which has been less deadly than prior ones. That unprotected group currently makes up the majority of COVID-positive ICU patients, he said.

Experts say there are a host of reasons why people should ramp up other protections, including masking, testing and increasing ventilation, while transmission is so high:

“When transmission is really high, we would be foolish to be complacent. ... This is a dangerous virus,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has said. “If we can slow down transmission, we have a good chance of preventing some people from dying in the upcoming months.”

Ferrer might implement a countywide indoor mask mandate this week unless cases and hospitalizations drop in the coming days. And while that could change precautions taken in indoor public spaces, it still leaves a lot of room for people to make decisions about gatherings with friends and family, going out to eat, summer travel and more.

“Being vaccinated and indoor masking are two relatively benign things that have a lot of weight,” said Dr. Peter Katona, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA. “Ultimately, it’s your risk tolerance that decides what you do or don’t do.”

Even among public health experts, there are differences in what might be considered risky during this latest wave. But in general, health officials said when deciding where to go and how to interact, people should consider the transmissibility of the virus — which is very high right now — how close they will be to others in a particular setting and how much the surrounding air is circulating.

“We’re stuck in the ‘everybody wants this to go away,’ but it’s not going to go away,” said Dr. Kimberly Shriner, an infectious disease specialist with Huntington Hospital. She said during this surge and any future ones, people should be ready to resume using tools for greater protection until cases begin to dip.

“Just like with rainy weather, you might go inside or use an umbrella,” Shriner said. “We’re in the middle of the surge, I’m going to ramp up some of the things to protect myself. ... We have the tools to deal with this, albeit our tools are not perfect.”

Indoor dining

“If you really think about it, you don’t have to avoid [indoor dining] like in the old days because you have so many tools — even for an unvaccinated person,” Chin-Hong said. He recommended picking a spot that is spacious and ideally with some airflow, like near an open window, and wearing a mask while moving around the restaurant, such as when going to the restroom.

Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of UC San Francisco’s Department of Medicine, said he’s not yet comfortable eating at an indoor, crowded restaurant — though he said it’s not unreasonable for people to do so. He said given that about 5% of hospital patients are testing positive for COVID-19, even when not seeking treatment for COVID, he doesn’t like the chances of dining out right now.

“In a crowd of 50 people, there’s near certainty that one person, at least, has COVID,” Wachter said.

Shriner said that people need to think of the next few weeks as a wave that will pass but could come back — like bad weather.

“In restaurants, people are talking loudly and they’re close together, and this particular variant, BA.5, is even more infectious than measles,” Shriner said. “For the next seven to 10 days, this is the peak of the surge; this is not the time to go to an indoor restaurant.”

Outdoor gatherings

Public health experts agree that outdoor gatherings remain the safest option, even though the latest subvariants are so contagious, they can spread outside. But none recommended outdoor masking unless in an exceptionally crowded space.

“I still think it’s relatively not risky,” Chin-Hong said, although he did carve out a scenario — “a mosh pit at Coachella during a non-windy day” — that could cause concern.

Wachter agreed but said there are levels of safety, even outdoors. “Outdoors is much better than indoors, but better with more space, better if people aren’t shouting at you, better with a breeze.”

He said if he’s at a ballpark, he would have a mask in his pocket in case the bathroom or hot-dog line felt stuffy and crowded.

Shriner said for larger events — even outdoors — it might make sense to delay them a week or so or ask people to test beforehand.

“An outdoor wedding that’s kind of spaced out, there’s a nice breeze blowing … that’s much safer,” Shriner said. “Is it absolutely safe? No.”

Large indoor events

Experts recommend wearing a good-fitting mask at large, indoor events. But Wachter said there are other precautions people and venues can take, such as increasing ventilation with fans, open windows or air filters and asking people to take a rapid test before attending.

“You can make them safer, but you can’t make them completely safe,” he said.

Chin-Hong said he’s heard of people strategically planning booster shots to increase protection before a big event or trip. He also recommended making a plan for how and where to get Paxlovid, Pfizer’s COVID pill that can reduce the worst symptoms, if someone does end up getting infected after a big event. He said if someone lives with grandparents or other high-risk people, it’s also smart to test after events for a few days and monitor for symptoms.

“You have these multiple tools. You don’t go crazy, but you use them … and you engage in life,” Chin-Hong said.

Trips or summer camp

For air travel, experts recommend wearing a mask while in the airport and on a plane, especially during takeoff and landing.

“I don’t worry as much about flying on the aircraft as the airport,” Shriner said. “All of us are probably exposed to the virus all the time, but you have to have a certain amount of the virus to get infected.”

Katona said there’s no reason to cancel or stop traveling, but there are ways to be smart, such as opening windows and wearing masks while in a taxi or Uber.

“The car is highly concentrated air,” he said.

Ferrer and Chin-Hong both said it’s a good idea to test before heading out on a big trip and to do the same for kids going to summer camp — and upon return.

“The best advice is really to vaccinate your kids and then boost them if they’re eligible,” Chin-Hong said. “That will give you peace of mind they won’t get terribly ill.”

Bars or clubs

Going out to crowded bars or nightclubs remains the most risky activity for catching and spreading the coronavirus, health experts warn.

“Those are very high-risk congregant settings. You have people very close together, they’re having a good time, they might be uninhibited a bit,” Shriner said. She’s heard some people saying they might as well “get it and get it over with,” but she called that rationale flawed, especially now.

“That doesn’t work because with this variant you can go out and get it again and again and again,” Shriner said.

Chin-Hong, though, said there are ways to make going out safer. He recommended avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated bars and staying more separated from a crowd.

“There’s still a lot of joy you can have on the edge or spilling outside,” said Chin-Hong, who recommended sitting near windows or in an outdoor section.

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