There are signs that the COVID-19 pandemic’s surge across Los Angeles County has slowed down, with the number of new coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations declining in recent weeks.
But that doesn’t mean it’s time to take that mask off. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has expressed concern that things will be especially risky this Labor Day weekend, with some people likely to get together to party without maintaining the social distancing and wearing the face coverings that are proven to reduce the risk of infection with the deadly virus. (And the video below, posted on the North Kings Road Facebook page, shows it’s not just party people who put others at risk. One member of the North Kings Road Facebook group has identified this couple, who are standing outside Salt & Straw on the northeast corner of Santa Monica and Robertson boulevards, as her neighbors.)
In West Hollywood, the Sheriff’s Station has stepped up its enforcement of the city’s requirement that face coverings be worn when you are out in public. Sheriff’s deputies initially focused on warning people who weren’t wearing masks that they needed to (and providing masks to those who needed them, including the homeless.) But now that we are well into the pandemic, with no clear sign that it will end, deputies have begun issuing citations.
Since July 17, deputies at the West Hollywood Station have issued a total of 70 citations to people who are out in public in West Hollywood and not wearing face coverings. Those citations come with a $250 fine and an additional $50 administrative fee. That means failing to wear a mask (which can be purchased for less than $5) can cost you $300.
Face coverings are not required for children under the age of two. Children who are two to eight years old should only wear face coverings with adult supervision; and people with certain medical conditions are exempt from this requirement. Public health officials recommend cloth face coverings so that medical-grade and N95 masks may be prioritized in the supply chain for healthcare workers and first responders.
The virus can be spread through invisible droplets in the air that come from an infected person who sneezes, coughs, sings, laughs or talks. Face coverings not only reduce the chance that you will inhale a virus from an infected person, they also reduce the chance that you might spread the virus. (And it’s important to note that many people who are infected, and thus infectious, aren’t aware of it for days.)
The City of West Hollywood has promoted the wearing of face coverings with an “in your face” campaign that calls out what are now known as “mask holes.” That campaign is on social media channels like Facebook. The city also has created banners to hang from utility poles and yard signs to spread the message.