Los Angeles Mayor Orders Non-Medical Workers, Customers to Wear Face-Coverings

Susan Jones | April 8, 2020 | 6:17am EDT
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has made face coverings mandatory for city residents who venture out to work or shop. (Photo by Brandon Williams/FilmMagic)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has made face coverings mandatory for city residents who venture out to work or shop. (Photo by Brandon Williams/FilmMagic)

(CNSNews.com) - Grocery store clerks and grocery shoppers in the city of Los Angeles must wear face coverings, by order of Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Garcetti issued the emergency order on Tuesday. It takes effect on April 10.

And it's not just grocery clerks and customers: The order requires "workers who provide non-medical, essential services to wear face coverings while at work."

The non-medical, essential businesses described in the order will be allowed to refuse service to customers who do not wear face coverings.

“We need to protect every worker on the front lines of this crisis,” the news release quoted Mayor Garcetti as saying.

“Each one of us is a first responder in this emergency. Every employer should keep employees safe, and so should Angelenos patronizing these businesses. Cover up. Keep your distance. Save lives. It’s that simple.”

Under the Mayor’s emergency order, employers of many non-medical, essential businesses must either provide workers with cloth face coverings that shield their noses and mouths or reimburse employees for their cost.

Essential businesses also must implement physical distancing measures for employees, customers, and visitors; make sure employees have access to a clean and sanitary restroom, stocked with all necessary cleansing products such as soap and sanitizer; and allow employees to wash their hands at least every 30 minutes.

The order recommends that, whenever possible, businesses install plexiglass barriers between cashiers and customers.

(This is the part of Mayor Garcetti's emergency order listing the groups that must now cover their faces in public places.)

'More enforcement is necessary'

California Governor Gavin Newsom, speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Tuesday night, said the "nation-state" of California looks for leadership at the local level.

"And Mayor Garcetti has been providing that," Newsom said. "What L.A. Is doing appropriate, based upon the fact that the numbers there are a little bit different than other parts of the state. As I say, we're not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination."

Gov. Newsom warned that "cabin fever" is setting in for some Californians:

People are getting a little exhausted by these stay-at-home orders. You see that on the weekends around the beaches and our state parks. So, more enforcement is necessary. We're starting to see more enforcement.

You're also seeing spots of the state, some of the rural parts of the state, not just the coastal parts of the state, where not everybody is practicing that physical distancing. And so, absolutely yes (Newsom said the L.A.-specific measures, such as the face covering order, could be expanded statewide). This is an iterative process. We work in real time. We recommend face coverings.

The mask issue is more challenging, as we continue to try to draw down and source more masks for our front line health care workers and the like. But face coverings, when you cannot practice physical distancing, is important, but it's not a substitute for the incredible potency and powerful power of an individual practicing physical distancing.

Newsom announced that California won't be "waiting around any longer" for masks, coveralls, and other personal protective equipment that are in high demand by medical workers and other front-line workers.

"In the last 48 hours, we have secured through a consortia of non-profits and a manufacturer here in the state of California upwards of 200 million masks on a monthly basis that we're confident we can supply the needs of the State of California, potentially the needs of other Western states. And so we just inked a number of contracts in the last few days that give me confidence in being able to say that."

Newsom said the masks and PPE will "be manufactured overseas, but we were able to source them through California manufacturer and a consortium of non-profits." He said the California manufacturer has "appropriate contacts in Asia."

"And now we have the confidence that 150-plus-million n95 masks, 50-plus-million surgical masks will come in on a monthly basis starting the next few weeks."

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