LA Mayor Orders Employees, Customers at Essential Businesses to Wear Face Coverings

April 8, 2020 Updated: April 8, 2020

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on April 7 announced a worker protection order requiring all employees at essential businesses to wear non-medical grade face coverings while at work amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

The order will begin on Friday at midnight and may be extended prior to May 1.

It requires all employees and customers at essential businesses in the city to wear non-medical grade cloth face coverings to help curb the spread of CCP by preventing the transmission of respiratory droplets that contain the virus.

Essential businesses include grocery stores, pharmacies, hotels and restaurants, hardware stores, laundromats, as well as taxi and ride-share drivers, among others. Businesses will also be authorized to deny entry or service to customers who aren’t wearing face coverings over their noses and mouths, according to the order.

Employers of those who work in any of the services listed above must provide these employees, at their own expense, with non-medical grade face coverings. They must also ensure employees have access to clean, sanitary restrooms that are stocked with all necessary cleansing products or sanitizing agents, and allow them to wash their hands every 30 minutes. Employers should also ensure a social distance of six feet is maintained between customers, visitors, and employees wherever possible.

Additionally, Garcetti encouraged all essential retail businesses to install plexiglass barriers between customers and cashiers to separate them but noted that there isn’t yet enough plexiglass available for every business.

Those who fail to comply with the new order could face a fine or prison time. Garcetti asked the Los Angeles Police Department and the City Attorney to enforce the order.

Los Angeles already has a Safer At Home order in place, which was issued March 19, mandating that wherever feasible, city residents must isolate themselves in their residences unless to engage in essential activities. It also banned public gatherings of any number and prohibited all travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit.

On Tuesday, Garcetti recommended everyone in the city to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths whenever they are outside their homes for essential goods and services, although it was not yet a requirement.

“Every Angeleno will share this responsibility with employers: To keep workers and everybody else safe, which is why we are requiring customers to wear face coverings to enter those businesses I mentioned,” Garcetti said while announcing the new order on Tuesday. “If you’re shopping for groceries, picking up a prescription, or visiting any other essential business, and if you’re not covering your face, by Friday morning, an essential business can refuse you service.”

He added: “So cover up, save a life, it’s that simple.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also advocated for non-medical personnel to wear non-medical grade face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, particularly in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It noted that those wearing non-medical grade face coverings should routinely wash them depending on the frequency of use, and also wash their hands directly after removing them.