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California Lifts Indoor Mask Mandate This Month, but Not for Los Angeles

Plus, John O’Groats turns 40, and a loss at Silver Lake’s Tacos Delta

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A server in a face shield and mask at an LA restaurant.
Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

California is moving to mostly rescind its statewide mask mandate for indoor settings soon, allowing the temporary order to naturally terminate on February 15 as COVID-19 cases continue to drop precipitously following the winter’s Omicron surge. While the news means that people in areas like Orange County, San Diego, and the Inland Empire will be formally allowed to go maskless in almost every scenario starting this month, it won’t immediately affect Los Angeles County or other high-density regions like San Francisco. Los Angeles and San Francisco each have their own more restrictive public health orders surrounding mask-wearing, and local officials in Los Angeles say that they will continue to mandate masks in most public settings (including all indoor spaces, on public transit, at mass outdoor public events, etc.) for the time being.

Per the Los Angeles Times, LA County officials, in particular, are waiting to more closely align with guidance from the Center for Disease Control on things like coronavirus transmission rate and hospitalizations before rethinking the current public health order. Reaching those lower thresholds for the reduction or removal of any local mask mandate could take weeks or more, and even then would not override existing mandates like mask-wearing on planes, buses, or in hospitals. It’s also important to note that masks will still be required in indoor settings statewide for unvaccinated people; state officials are also looking into potentially changing the mask guidance regarding K-12 schools. Meanwhile, state lawmakers have approved COVID-19 sick pay for infected Californians.

The 40-year legend

Longtime Westside restaurant John O’Groats is turning 40 on February 26, and to celebrate the families behind the restaurant on Pico Boulevard will be handing out $40 gift cards to the first groups to show up for breakfast that day. The staple spot is popular with weekend brunchers and biscuit and pancake lovers, and also offers some Scottish staples (including a great fish and chips) during the day.

A taco for a cause

HomeState’s newest band taco is here, and it’s a collaboration with none other than Leon Bridges. $1.25 from each taco will go to support both a local non-profit (CASA LA) and Bridges’ own Texas-based non-profit the Big Good.

New names to know

Rodeo 39 Public Market in Stanton is adding new talent, including Coffee Dose, Buenos Migos, and plant-based VOWburger (among others), all in the next few months. The overall Rodeo market brand will also be expanding, growing new locations across Orange County, the Inland Empire, and beyond soon.

A loss in Silver Lake

The matriarch of Tacos Delta, the seminal Silver lake taco stand, has died. Elisa, 86 and better known as Licho, helped to found the restaurant four decades ago, and her recipes remain the backbone of the small shop. She will be missed.