Face coverings mandate for essential business workers, customers in several SoCal cities now in effect

FILE - A man wears a facemask while pushing his shopping cart in Alhambra, California on February 27, 2020.

People working in and visiting businesses deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic in Los Angeles and several other Southland cities will be required to wear face coverings starting Friday, which can be done by wearing clothing such as scarves, shirts and others.


Los Angeles, Burbank, Culver City and Santa Monica have adopted policies for employees and customers to wear face coverings at essential businesses, along with social distancing measures and guarantees for workers to have access to sanitizing resources.

"We are acting in collaboration with cities throughout the county to flatten the curve and protect our residents, businesses and workforce," said Rick Cole, Santa Monica's city manager and director of emergency services.

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"It's best to stay home this week, but if you have to visit an essential business, it is essential to cover your face to protect lives."

Businesses in the above cities are also authorized to refuse service to customers who don't wear face coverings, which can be fashioned out of cloth materials. Medical-grade, or N95 maks, which are in short supply, should be saved for health-care workers.

The mandates apply to a host of businesses including hardware stores, laundromats, taxi and ride-hailing services, hotels and plumbing companies.

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Each of the cities has required employers to provide employees with the non-medical face coverings, or reimburse employees who obtain them on their own.

"Our idea is not to be arresting and fining people for the face coverings. This is about self-enforcement," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Tuesday. But he said the city could issue civil citations if people don't comply.

RELATED: Garcetti says essential employees must wear face coverings starting Friday

Garcetti also suggested Los Angeles businesses install Plexiglas barriers between employee work stations and customers, but he acknowledged that could take some time to accomplish.