By CBSLA Staff

WHITTIER (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s new mask-mandate, requiring all individuals to wear masks indoors, vaccinated or not, goes into effect Saturday night at 11:59 p.m.

Over the last week, LA County has reported an average of more than 1,000 new daily cases. On Saturday, the health department reported 1,827 new cases, an amount four times greater than on the Fourth of July and eight-fold increase from just one month ago.

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“The numbers are really starting to go up in the unvaccinated population because of the Delta variant,” Dr. Suzie Bash said.

Public health officials say more than 97% of those testing positive for coronavirus nationwide are unvaccinated.

The goal of the latest mask-mandate, according to some officials, is to protect the unvaccinated, which in LA County is an estimated 4 million people. Many of those are children 12-years-old and under who cannot yet be inoculated.

San Gabriel resident Ben Hernandez said he doesn’t believe in wearing the masks.

“Going into the mask mandate, I believe it’s useless and nonsense,” he said. “And I believe we should have the freedom to breathe fresh air.”

In Uptown Whittier, business owners weighed in on whether or not a return to face-coverings will hurt their bottom lines.

Claudia Prado, owner of Shop the Runway, never actually lifted the requirements for masks in her store.

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“We haven’t had any issues,” Prado said. “There might be a few here and there that will not come in. They’ll kind of like pop their head in and look around, but so far everyone has been pretty good. We haven’t had any crazy issues.”

Genaro Ruiz, who owns a salon, said donning masks once again makes sense to him.

“I think it’s an okay idea. The numbers are rising. We need to do it. Plus, I have coworkers who are high risk pregnancy. So, we have been them on anyway,” Ruiz said.

Other business owners said that enforcement unfairly falls on their shoulders.

“Why do I have to be the one to telling them what to do, what not to do?” Manuel Cuchilla, of Little Monster Ice Cream, said. “You know, that’s not coming from me. I don’t make those rules.”

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva released a statement that said his deputies would not be enforcing the latest mandate and, instead, asked the public to comply voluntarily.


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