Bizfed, a coalition representing 410,000 employers and 5 million employees in Los Angeles, has asked the county not to go ahead with plans to reimpose an indoor mask mandate on July 29, favoring a voluntary policy to deal with the COVID surge.

As Breitbart News has reported, county health director Barbara Ferrer has warned that indoor mask mandates will begin July 29 if the county remains in the “high” COVID category as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The county is experiencing a surge of cases and hospitalizations, with the latter exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents. A new and contagious omicron variant of the virus is driving infections, leading officials to warn that the mask mandate is returning.

However, as the Los Angeles Daily News reported on Thursday, Bizfed is pushing back vigorously against Ferrer’s plans:

This is not a debate about choosing between lives and livelihoods,” Tracy Hernandez, founding CEO of the Los Angeles County Business Federation, or BizFed, said in a statement.

“This is a discussion about educating and empowering Angelenos to make smart choices about protecting their health, our workers and the region’s collective ability to weather this latest wave of infections. We can do better than a heavy-handed mandate at this stage of pandemic recovery and endemic recalibration.”

Dozens of counties across the state have also moved into the “high” transmission category, but Los Angeles is the only county that has announced plans to reinstate a mask mandate. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has repeatedly defended the move, calling it a simple yet effective way of slowing virus transmission and preventing hospitals from becoming overburdened.

On its website, Bizfed states: “We all support the safety of our residents and encourage individuals to take precautions as necessary, but imposing more mandates with little data to support a reduction in transmission rates is not the way forward.”