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Masks are back on at Lionsgate HQ as COVID outbreaks rise, including at ‘Masked Singer’ studio

The mask mandate is back for employees at Lionsgate headquarters in Santa Monica, as COVID-19 cases in the state and nationwide have been on the upswing again.

The policy change came after several employees tested positive for COVID-19, according to an internal memo. The change requires employees on two floors to wear a medical-grade face covering when indoors, unless actively eating, drinking or alone.

In L.A. County, workplaces, hospitals and other indoor settings with crowds of people are required to mask up when outbreaks occur, according to the Department of Public Health.

As of Aug. 22, there were 88 active outbreaks reported in the county. Of those, 14 were at workplaces, including a couple within the entertainment industry — the Directors Guild of America and “The Masked Singer” studio at Red Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles. Neither immediately confirmed whether a mask mandate was in place.

With the declared public emergency over, most people have ditched their masks, but rising cases have led many to wonder if it’s time to return to familiar safety measures.

Since the start of July, COVID-19 hospitalizations have climbed statewide, although deaths have remained stable. And in recent weeks, the rates of positive COVID tests in California have gone up, along with anecdotal reports of greater spread of the virus, California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan told The Times earlier this month.

The latest Omicron subvariant, EG.5, nicknamed Eris, is starting to make up more of those cases in California — an estimated 12% — although the Kraken subvariant, XBB.1.5, still dominates the state, according to Pan.

Eris may be more transmissible than other subvariants, due to a mutation that helps the virus dodge antibodies from earlier variants and vaccines, but so far experts are saying it is no more dangerous than other strains.

Officials are set to roll out an updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall that will target the Omicron variant and is expected to work against Eris.

As Lionsgate employees put their masks back on until further notice, so too will students and staff at Morris Brown College in Atlanta — where reports of positive cases brought back a two-week mask mandate, according to an announcement from the college president Sunday.

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