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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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.
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 refurbished grade or better
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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.




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.



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.



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.



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.


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


Latest News in Los Angeles, CA

With water running out, California faces grim summer of dangerous heat, extreme drought

Heat waves. Severe drought. Extreme wildfires.As Southern California braces for unprecedented drought restrictions, long-range forecasts are predicting a summer that will be fraught with record-breaking temperatures, sere landscapes and above-average potential for significant wildfires, particularly in the northern part of the state.“The dice are loaded for a lot of big fires across the West,” said Park Williams, a climate scientist at UCLA. “And the reason for that is simple: The vast majority of the western ...

Heat waves. Severe drought. Extreme wildfires.

As Southern California braces for unprecedented drought restrictions, long-range forecasts are predicting a summer that will be fraught with record-breaking temperatures, sere landscapes and above-average potential for significant wildfires, particularly in the northern part of the state.

“The dice are loaded for a lot of big fires across the West,” said Park Williams, a climate scientist at UCLA. “And the reason for that is simple: The vast majority of the western U.S. is in pretty serious drought.”

Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the temperature outlook for the transition from spring into summer this year calls for above-normal readings for most of the West.

At the same time, the agency also reported that while long-range forecasts had suggested the climate phenomenon known as La Niña was dissipating — raising a glimmer of hope that California might experience a normal winter in 2022 — it now appeared that the “little girl” was hanging on, possibly into a third year.

If NOAA is correct, high temperatures and the lingering La Niña will have major impacts on urban and agricultural water use across the American West, as well as for California’s increasingly extreme fire season.

Already, the federal government has announced that it will delay water releases from Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir, as a result of worsening drought conditions along the Colorado River. In an effort to boost the shrinking reservoir, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that it plans to hold back water to reduce risks of the lake falling below a point at which Glen Canyon Dam would no longer generate electricity.

Unlike its wetter and better known sibling, El Niño, La Niña typically brings dry winters to Southern California and the Southwest.

Now, with California’s rainy season largely in the rearview mirror and a hot dry summer rapidly approaching, forecasters say La Niña has a 59% chance of continuing through the summer, and up to a 55% chance of persisting through the fall.

Experts say this summer could be a repeat of last year, when fires burned more than 2.5 million acres across California — more than any other year except 2020.

“Last year, one thing that made the fire season especially active were the extreme heat waves that occurred across the West during summertime,” Williams said. “So we’re in a similar situation this year, where we’re going into summer with extremely dry conditions, but we don’t yet know whether there are going to be more record heat waves this year. That’s why there’s still a lot of uncertainty in how the fire season is actually going to play out.”

Warming of the planet due to human activity has increased the likelihood of severe heat waves, and hotter temperatures also worsen drought by causing snowpack to melt earlier in the year, and causing more precipitation to fall as rain, instead of snow.

“The chances of having record-breaking heat waves this year are higher than normal,” Williams said. “But there’s still room for hope that we get lucky.”

Already this year, California has seen 1,402 fires that have together burned 6,507 acres. That compares with 1,639 fires that burned 4,779 acres at this time last year, said Capt. Chris Bruno of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Cal Fire is currently holding trainings in all its programs, from helicopter rescues to hand crews, and is bringing on seasonal employees to support operations with an eye toward reaching peak staffing — which averages 10,000 employees — by June or July, he said.

La Niña’s refusal to move on could also cause problems for places other than California.

La Niña influences climate around the globe, and is cyclical. It can bring drought to some parts of the world at the same time as it brings torrential rain to others.

“Both La Niña and El Niño are major disturbances in ‘the force’” said climatologist Bill Patzert. Some weather disasters around the world have been blamed on climate change but are actually typical of the La Niña impacts we’ve seen in the past, although they may well be intensified or changed by warming brought on by the burning of fossil fuels, he said.

“La Niña and El Niño have always had large global footprints,” Patzert said.

While California had its driest January, February and March on record, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest were wet. Across the Pacific Ocean, Australians were fleeing record flooding. Prolonged drought gripped equatorial eastern Africa, raising the specter of famine for millions of people in the Horn of Africa. At the same time, parts of South Africa, such as Durban, received record rainfall. Torrential downpours triggered flooding and landslides in Rio de Janeiro.

There are other influences as well. La Niñas usually weaken wind shear in the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic, contributing to increased hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin. Both 2020 and 2021 were active hurricane seasons, with 2020 going into the record books as the year with the most named storms of any season on record.

This year, forecasters at Colorado State University have predicted 19 named storms, including nine hurricanes. This would be the seventh consecutive above-average Atlantic hurricane season, according to Patzert.

In the northern United States, La Niñas are typically associated with colder, stormier-than-average conditions and increased precipitation. In the southern U.S., they’re known for warmer, drier and less stormy conditions.

Thankfully, La Niña doesn’t last forever.

Both La Niña and El Niño are part of what is called the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. Between them is a neutral phase, which is what forecasters had thought we were headed toward this spring.

In the meantime, forecasters say, the dryness in the western U.S. has a silver lining, at least for Southern and Central California. While the National Interagency Fire Center is predicting that much of the northern portion of the state will see an above-normal potential for significant fires through August, meteorologists are calling for near- to below-normal fire activity in the southern reaches.

That’s because there hasn’t been enough rain to grow the grasses that often serve as fuel for Southern and Central California’s lower-elevation fires, said U.S. Forest Service meteorologist Matt Shameson.

“I’d say the fine fuels are about ankle to calf high,” he said. “Normally, they’re about knee to waist high.”

The region has seen no significant grass fires so far this year, which normally start across the lower elevations in the middle of April, he added.

Northern California has received more rain, particularly at the end of March through April, so there is a more robust grass crop, which helps spread fire by carrying it up into larger fuels like trees, he said. In addition, Northern California has more vegetation in general, so fires there are typically not limited by the amount of fuel available.

“I think that this year is going to pretty much mimic last year — very similar conditions are expected,” Shameson said. Southern California had fewer significant fires than average and saw less acreage burned, while Northern California shattered records, with the Dixie fire scorching nearly 1 million acres and burning across the Sierra Nevada for the first time in recorded history.

“I can tell you: They’re expecting another big fire season up north,” he said.

The effects of these repeated large, severe fires have the potential to be ecologically devastating and pose a real risk of compromising the state’s climate goals, experts say. The Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade ranges, which currently store close to half of California’s captured carbon, lost 1.1 million tons of stored carbon to wildfire, drought and invasive pests from 2018 to 2019 alone, according to recently published research by scientists at UC Berkeley.

“That’s a 35% reduction in just a year,” said author Alexis Bernal, a research specialist at UC Berkeley’s Stephens Lab. “And we know that these disturbances are only going to increase in frequency and intensity with climate change.”

She and other scientists are calling for land managers to increase forest resiliency by thinning vegetation and increasing the use of prescribed fires to reduce the density of forests so that blazes burn less severely through them.

Absent intervention, she said, it’s projected that the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade region will lose over 75% of its above-ground carbon stocks by 2069, sending about 860 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air.

“That means the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade region will no longer be a carbon sink, as it is now,” she said. “It will be a carbon source.”

Large, high-severity burn patches can also result in ecosystem collapse by converting forests into grass and shrublands, she added.

“These landscapes may no longer function as forests anymore,” she said. “They may function as something else, which would be pretty devastating for all living things, including ourselves, that rely on these forests to survive.”

L.A. County keeps mask mandate at airports, on public transit, despite federal changes

Despite recent changes at the federal level, Los Angeles County is continuing to require travelers to mask up when aboard public transit or in indoor transportation hubs such as airports.The new health officer order, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, means the nation’s most populous county again has face-covering rules that go beyond those set by the state.On Wednesday, the Cal...

Despite recent changes at the federal level, Los Angeles County is continuing to require travelers to mask up when aboard public transit or in indoor transportation hubs such as airports.

The new health officer order, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, means the nation’s most populous county again has face-covering rules that go beyond those set by the state.

On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health unveiled its own updated guidance that strongly recommends residents mask up when using public transit, though it’s no longer required.

L.A. County’s mask order covers commuter trains, subways, buses, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts; as well as indoor transportation hubs, including bus terminals, subway stations, seaports and other indoor port terminals, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. It applies to everyone ages 2 and older, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

The order affects Los Angeles International Airport and Hollywood Burbank Airport. Ferrer said she expects the Long Beach public health department, which operates independently of the county, to adopt a similar order. Pasadena, which also has its own public health agency, confirmed it will align with the county’s mask-wearing rules.

The local mask-wearing order applies to airline passengers once they disembark their plane and does not extend to people once they have boarded.

Local transit agencies began announcing the return of mask orders on public transportation. Mask use became optional on the Metrolink commuter rail system Monday night and L.A. County’s Metro system Tuesday, but mask wearing was again required starting Friday.

In opting to maintain the mandate, Ferrer cited both the continued elevated level of coronavirus transmission countywide and a recent assessment from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that, “at this time, an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health.”

“That resonates with us,” Ferrer told reporters during a briefing Thursday. “We think and agree that public transit settings ... and public transportation hubs that are indoors are places where, A) There’s a lot of mingling; B) They’re often crowded; and C) In some of those settings, it’s really hard to have adequate ventilation.

“As soon as CDC determined that it was important to keep this masking requirement in place, we went ahead and aligned with the CDC,” she added.

The CDC had intended to keep the federal mask order on public transportation systems such as buses, trains and airplanes in place at least until May 3, pending further review of increasing coronavirus cases nationally. But that timeline was upended by a court ruling striking down the mandate earlier this week.

The Justice Department has since moved to appeal the decision.

Ferrer said this latest health order is not meant as a precursor to the reinstitution of broader mask mandates, such as in schools or other indoor public settings.

She did, however, acknowledge that some residents may feel a touch of whiplash as many airlines, transit systems and commuting companies, including Uber and Lyft, announced they would lift masking requirements for passengers following the court ruling.

“I think it’s important to note that the CDC did not change their requirements/recommendation, their guidance,” Ferrer said. “A judge, a federal judge with little experience in public health, actually determined that and questioned ... whether CDC had the authority to issue that regulation.”

L.A. County is not the first local entity to require mask use on public transit in the aftermath of Monday’s federal court ruling. On Tuesday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the mask mandate would remain in effect at John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York City, based on local public health guidance.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday that masks are still required on New York City’s subway and bus system, in accordance with recommendations from public health officials.

The transit agency that serves Milwaukee County in Wisconsin has also retained a mask-wearing order on its bus system.

Officials acknowledge it’s not ideal to have local orders at odds with other areas of the country but blamed the mismatch of masking policies on the judicial action.

“While it would be much [more] preferable to have — as the CDC had previously mandated — a requirement that covers the entire country until the legal challenges are addressed, it’s important that local jurisdictions take direction from the CDC on what measures are needed to protect the public health,” Ferrer said.

“This was not a decision by the federal government that masks were no longer needed in very congested settings like public transit, our buses, in New York City, the subway. But it was overturned by the court for procedural reasons,” Hochul said Wednesday.

Ferrer also expressed concern about recent increases in the county’s coronavirus case and test positivity rates. Over the last week, L.A. County averaged 1,262 new cases a day, more than double the rate recorded a month ago.

The coronavirus positivity rate also has increased to about 2% in recent days; two weeks ago, the positivity rate was about 1%.

An additional point of concern is the rapidly spreading BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron variant in L.A. County, which now dominates sequenced coronavirus cases.

The latest case rate is equivalent to 87 cases a week for every 100,000 residents, meaning the county is seeing a substantial level of coronavirus transmission. L.A. County would need to drop to a rate of fewer than 50 cases a week for every 100,000 residents, or fewer than 730 cases a day, to return to a moderate level of transmission.

Ferrer said the county order will be reassessed when community transmission falls back to the moderate level, when the CDC determines transit masking is no longer necessary, or in 30 days, whichever happens first.

“While many of us would like to be at a place where masking is no longer necessary, with substantial transmission and a more infectious variant, one of the easiest things we can do to prevent infection is to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator,” she said.

Ferrer added that the county will continue to employ an education-emphasis approach to promote compliance, rather than heavy-handed enforcement.

“Our experience to date is that the vast majority of people follow these sensible rules. They take to heart the fact that these are put in place so that we can go on with the business of protecting each other and keeping each other safe, keeping the workforce safe,” she said. “But as always, we anticipate that there will be small numbers of people that aren’t going to be following the rules.”

State health officials, too, are continuing to tout the benefits afforded by masking — particularly in settings such as public transit. However, unlike L.A. County, the California Department of Public Health is opting for a recommendation when it comes to face coverings, rather than a requirement.

“Going forward, California will strongly recommend masks on all public transportation and in transit hubs, including bus and train stations, ferry terminals and airports,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, the state health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement to The Times. “These crowded settings should be considered high risk and may often not have adequate ventilation.”

He emphasized that “masks, along with vaccines, are an effective and important layer of protection against COVID-19,” and said the state continues “to monitor federal action on this issue and will announce any additional changes to state policies as needed.”

Public transit agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area formally dropped their mask requirements Wednesday but also continue to suggest wearing face coverings.

The board governing the BART commuter rail system, however, will consider reinstating a mask mandate at a meeting April 28.

“COVID cases are rising again, and we must keep riders safe, especially folks who are immunocompromised or who are under 5 and not yet eligible to get vaccinated,” tweeted BART board President Rebecca Saltzman.

Coronavirus cases are rising nationally, up from 27,000 to 41,000 cases a day over the last two weeks. New daily coronavirus-positive hospitalizations nationally are still among the lowest levels since recordkeeping began but are starting to increase, and are up 7% over the prior week.

Scientists are closely watching the latest highly contagious Omicron subvariant, BA.2.12.1, which is believed to be 25% more contagious than its parent subvariant, BA.2. The newest subvariant already accounts for more than half the new coronavirus cases in New York and New Jersey.

BA.2.12.1 has been detected in Los Angeles County, Ferrer said. Between March 27 and April 2, that subvariant accounted for 6% of analyzed cases in L.A. County.

While cheered in certain circles, the sudden striking of the federal mask order sparked concern from some experts who didn’t support the timing or the fact that the decision was made by a judge rather than public health officials.

The absence of the mask order also presents additional challenges for many medically vulnerable people and their families — who are now left worrying about whether to go through with plane trips or how to navigate other public transportation options.

“We have fought so hard for the right to exist in our community, and now to have these mask mandates fall, which will make it even harder for us to do so, is just infuriating,” said Maria Town, president and chief executive of the American Assn. of People With Disabilities.

Times staff writers Rachel Uranga and Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.

Can we do it? Unprecedented water cuts will require sacrifices for Southern California

In less than a month, residents in large portions of Southern California will be under unprecedented water restrictions due to a worsening drought that has severely limited water supplies.The biggest change is the requirement from the Metropolitan Water District that local water suppliers in those areas, from Ventura County to northwestern L.A. County to parts of the Inland Empire, limit outdoor watering to once a week.But behind that is a big cut in water use needed to avoid even more serious measures. Can we do it? Here&rsquo...

In less than a month, residents in large portions of Southern California will be under unprecedented water restrictions due to a worsening drought that has severely limited water supplies.

The biggest change is the requirement from the Metropolitan Water District that local water suppliers in those areas, from Ventura County to northwestern L.A. County to parts of the Inland Empire, limit outdoor watering to once a week.

But behind that is a big cut in water use needed to avoid even more serious measures. Can we do it? Here’s what we know:

How much water do we now use?

Currently, the average potable water use across the MWD’s service area — including residential, commercial and industrial water use — amounts to 125 gallons per person per day.

But those numbers vary by water agency. Ellen Cheng, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said customers average about 111 gallons per person per day.

How much water will those in targeted areas need to use to hit savings numbers?

80 gallons per day — or a 35% drop.

How do officials expect us to get there?

The focus right now is on outdoor water use.

Under the new rules, MWD will require suppliers to limit watering times on the one day when outdoor watering is allowed for each customer. The details will be left to each supplier, but some water agencies have already said sprinklers should run no more than eight minutes. That alone should achieve significant savings, since outdoor watering accounts for as much as 70% of residential use in the region, according to the MWD.

What will the impact of that be on the landscape?

Officials expect yellow and brown lawns due to less water.

“We cannot afford green lawns,” said Adel Hagekhalil, the MWD’s general manager, last week.

There are exceptions to the new rules, however. Those exceptions are meant to protect the region’s trees, which provide valuable shade and help stave off dangerous heat health effects.

“The fact is, we don’t want to see our beautiful and ecologically important tree canopy suffer because of these restrictions,” said Deven Upadhyay, the MWD’s chief operating officer. “People should be able to continue to hand-water their trees.”

What about watering?

Shorter showers. Fewer flushes. Use of water-efficient appliances. But as you go about trimming your water usage at home, experts say the biggest potential for shrinking water use lies outdoors in our yards. That’s why officials focused on cutting outdoor water use.

Shahzeen Attari, an associate professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, said that focusing the restrictions on a specific activity — outdoor watering — instead of a per-capita number makes sense from a policy perspective, at least for the time being.

“If I say you’re only allowed to use water on a particular day, on a Tuesday for example, then anyone who’s watering on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, it’s easy to say you’re not in compliance,” said Attari. “But if I say you’re allowed to use 10 gallons any time during the week ... it’s really hard for me to know whether you’ve reached your quota or not.”

Am I covered by the restrictions?

The rules will target areas that rely heavily or entirely on the State Water Project, a Northern California water supply that officials say has just 5% of full water allocations available this year. Water supplies in reservoirs across the state have shrunk dramatically over the past three years during the extreme drought, which is being significantly worsened by higher temperatures caused by climate change.

Areas that receive water from the Colorado River and other sources will be spared, at least for now.

The affected agencies include: Calleguas Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Three Valleys Municipal Water District and Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District.

It will fall to each member agency to determine how best to implement the restrictions.

According to MWD, all or part of the following cities and communities are dependent on water from the State Water Project and will be affected by the new restrictions:

Downtown LA's California Flower Mall set for busy weekend as Mother's Day shoppers stream in

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Have you gotten Mom a gift yet? Time is running out.The California Flower Mall in Downtown Los Angeles is ready for a busy weekend, as Mother's Day shoppers stream in.Highland resident Courtney Cagle and her friend woke up early Friday morning to beat the crowds at the California Flower Mall in the heart of Downtown L.A.'s Flower District."So I'm gonna do 30 packs of the double dozens for roses and then I just buy extra mixed flowers to fill my arrangements," Cagle said.She...

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Have you gotten Mom a gift yet? Time is running out.

The California Flower Mall in Downtown Los Angeles is ready for a busy weekend, as Mother's Day shoppers stream in.

Highland resident Courtney Cagle and her friend woke up early Friday morning to beat the crowds at the California Flower Mall in the heart of Downtown L.A.'s Flower District.

"So I'm gonna do 30 packs of the double dozens for roses and then I just buy extra mixed flowers to fill my arrangements," Cagle said.

She and her grandma will sell them this weekend for Mother's Day.

"We go by her house and people come up and I sell them with a vase, a bow, flower food," Cagle said.

But she's noticed that even since Valentine's Day, prices are up.

Mall owner Mark Chatoff says it's another sign of the times.

"Inflation, you can't avoid it," Chatoff said. "Logistics, labor, supply disruptions, just the cost of getting products here has become more expensive and it just trickles into the price of the product."

After all, most of these flowers come a long way from Columbia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico.

"They're all being basically flown up on jets here to Los Angeles as quickly as they can to get and to basically keep the supply chain full of products,"

RELATED: Northridge florist mourns mom who helped her open flower shop on Mother's Day four years ago

Still, florists say the Flower District is the cheapest place to get them.

That's why Maria Ramirez drove here overnight from the Central Valley.

"We started driving at 12 a.m. today in the morning, so my husband drove over here with me," Ramirez said.

She says a dozen of roses up in Madera is around $40.

Here in the Flower District? Roses go for $12-20 a dozen, which is why this place is so popular.

"Come early. You have to be here -- we left at 3 a.m. to here," Cagle said. "The later you come, you just cannot walk in here. It's literally like we're packed like sardines."

The market will be open Saturday until the flowers sell out.

RELATED: 15 Mother's Day Gifts Under $50

If you can't get flowers? According to a recent survey, what moms want most in this world is a nap.

Time2play asked hundreds of moms all over the United States and what most of them really want is to take a break.

After a nap, the next most coveted gift is a meal they don't have to cook. They'd love to have breakfast or dinner with the family, as long as someone else is cooking.

Here in California, most moms said they'd just like some help with the chores.

Southern California ‘cannot afford green lawns’ as drought forces unprecedented water cuts

Large portions of Southern California are being told to water outdoors just one day a week. And a total watering ban could be imposed by fall.Millions of Southern California residents are bracing for less water and many brown lawns as drought and climate change leave a large swath of the region with a growing water shortage.In a remarkable indication of drought severity, officials with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California have ...

Large portions of Southern California are being told to water outdoors just one day a week. And a total watering ban could be imposed by fall.

Millions of Southern California residents are bracing for less water and many brown lawns as drought and climate change leave a large swath of the region with a growing water shortage.

In a remarkable indication of drought severity, officials with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California have declared a first-of-its-kind action limiting outdoor water use to one day a week for nearly 6 million residents.

Much remains to be determined about how daily life will change as people adjust to a drier normal. But officials are warning the situation is dire and could lead to even more severe limits later in the year.

“We have not had the supply to meet the normal demands that we have, and now we need to prioritize between watering our lawns and having water for our children and our grandchildren and livelihood and health,” MWD General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said Wednesday. “With this historic drought getting worse, we cannot afford green lawns.”

For some Californians, the sight of brown lawns may harken back to to the previous drought, when then-Gov. Jerry Brown imposed mandatory water cuts across the state. But after the driest-ever start to the year in California history, conditions today are far more critical than they’ve ever been, officials said.

“We knew climate change would stress our water supply, and we’ve been preparing for it, but we did not know it would happen this fast,” said Gloria Gray, chairwoman of the MWD’s board of directors. “This means we are attempting to adapt to climate change in real time, and that is not easy. It is a challenge unlike anything Metropolitan has ever faced.”

The new restrictions will take effect June 1 and apply to areas that depend on water from the State Water Project, including northwestern L.A. and Ventura counties, parts of the San Gabriel Valley and parts of the Inland Empire.

Officials said the step became inevitable after California experienced its driest ever January, February and March. That left snowpack shrunken and reservoirs drained, prompting state water officials in March to slash the project’s expected deliveries from an already low 15% to 5%.

Now, it falls to the MWD’s member agencies to determine how to implement the restrictions, officials said. Those suppliers who fail will be slapped with a penalty of up to $2,000 per acre-foot of additional use.

If vast improvements aren’t immediate and apparent, a full outdoor watering ban could happen as soon as September, Hagekhalil said.

“We’re behind on precipitation. But it’s the changing climate that we cannot rely on anymore,” he said. “This is real. This is serious. This is unprecedented.”

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order aimed at scaling up urban conservation and suggested a ban on watering decorative grasses at businesses and public properties, among other measures. The order followed reports that Californians were backsliding in their efforts to conserve water, and had in fact increased water use at the start of the year.

Newsom’s office said in a statement that the action by the MWD was a great example of local initative, and “we are hopeful these efforts will significantly contribute to the state’s overall water reduction goals as outdoor watering is one of the biggest single users of water.”

But for some residents, the move may be a harsh wake-up call to the realities of the worsening drought.

In Windsor Square on Wednesday, many houses sat behind large privacy hedges, their front yards replete with stalks of lavender, flowering jasmine and bushy bitter willows.

Scott Rosenbaum, who was walking his two golden retrievers in the area, said his lawn is currently being watered about three times a week. He said he would prefer not to be restricted to watering once a week, “but if we have to conserve water, then of course we have to conserve.”

John Eisendrath, who lives a few blocks over, said he and his wife had already been looking into water conservation measures for a long time. They turned off the sprinklers in their yard for all of 2021 to save water, which resulted in the lawn dying. They replanted it at the start of 2022, but are fine if it ends up dying again because of the new restrictions.

“I think that it’s an incredibly small price to pay for allowing there to be enough water for what people really need it for,” he said.

The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, an MWD member agency that provides water to more than 75,000 residents in Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills and Westlake Village, has already made plans for enforcing the new rules, according to spokesman Mike McNutt.

The agency plans to divvy up watering days among even- and odd-numbered addresses, and then send patrols through the area to ensure that people are complying, McNutt said. They’re also going to keep an eye out for waste, such as water that’s flowing into gutters.

Residents who are not complying will be given door-tag warnings for their first offense, with penalties escalating from there, he said. After three offenses exceeding 150% of the water budget, the agency would be able to install flow-restriction devices.

“It’s not meant to be punitive. It’s meant to get people to understand that this is serious,” McNutt said.

The MWD’s largest member agency, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, has so far provided few details about how it plans to apply the latest changes.

DWP spokeswoman Ellen Cheng said the agency has had Phase 2 water restrictions in place since before the previous drought, and noted that customers have made major progress in conservation, averaging about 111 gallons per person per day.

But experts say that number may be too much. Hagekhlalil, of the MWD, said the target needs to be closer to 80 gallons per person per day.

“We’re asking them to reduce the water usage by 35%. This is the new reality. This the changing climate,” Hagekhalil said. “Right now, we must preserve the available water we have for the greater public benefit. This drought has left us without enough water. That is the tough reality we all face.”

Some water experts have been saying for months that California should shift to mandatory water restrictions, instead of voluntary calls for conservation.

“The outdoor water restrictions, I think, underscore the severity of the drought and they highlight the imperative to use water more efficiently,” said Heather Cooley, research director of the Pacific Institute, a water think tank in Oakland. “Outdoor water restrictions have been shown to be effective strategies for rapidly reducing water use. I do suspect that more communities will adopt these measures as conditions worsen.”

Cooley said that in this situation, it’s especially crucial to consider how low-water and drought-resistant plants can dramatically boost conservation.

“While this is a short-term drought response measure, this is also an opportunity to be taking out water-intensive lawn and putting in more climate-appropriate plants,” she said.

Stephanie Pincetl, a professor at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, agreed.

“Lawns do well with about 30 inches of rain a year. Do we get 30 inches of rain a year? I don’t think so,” Pincetl said. Los Angeles receives about half that amount in a typical year.

“So if you want to have water to drink, water to do all the stuff you do inside, bathe your children, do your laundry, using water on a lawn just seems foolish,” Pincetl said.

There are exceptions to the new rules, however, that are meant to protect the region’s trees, which provide valuable shade and help stave off dangerous heat health effects.

“The fact is, we don’t want to see our beautiful and ecologically important tree canopy suffer because of these restrictions,” said Deven Upadhyay, the MWD’s chief operating officer. “People should be able to continue to hand-water their trees. But we need to see a dramatic reduction in water use, specifically outdoor water use.”

Dan Drugan, manager of resources for the Calleguas Municipal Water District, an MWD member agency, shared similar sentiments.

“We’re going to have to sacrifice turf to preserve the urban canopy and the areas that have high recreational value for our community,” he said.

Larchmont resident Guin Malley said her sprinklers are currently running every other night, but her lawn will definitely not survive the switch to once-a-week watering, especially during the hot summer months. However, it didn’t surprise her that the watering restrictions are back.

“I like having green lawns, but I think we’re entering a different time of life right now where unfortunately, we haven’t made the easy changes,” said Malley, 51, “and now we’re going to have to make the harder changes. And one of them is not being able to have pretty green lawns and pretty green yards.”

She and her boyfriend also have several plants they hand-water every day during the summer. Malley said she believes people in the neighborhood are likely to follow the restrictions, especially if they are enforced by fines.

And it won’t be hard to tell who’s flouting the rules.

“To me, anybody who’s following it is going to have a dead lawn, that’s how you’re going to be able to tell,” Malley said.


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