As the coronavirus infection rate rises across Los Angeles County, the city of West Hollywood has instituted a fine for people who are on city streets without a face mask or covering.
The city said Wednesday it would issue an “administrative citation” to those who are not conforming. The citation will be $250 for first-time offenders, plus a fee of $50, for a total of $300.
Also on Thursday, the city of Santa Monica announced it would enact fines of $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second and $500 for a third violation. Business that do not require their customers to wear masks can be fined $500 to $1,000.
Residents of California have already been under a mandatory mask order since June 15, but the wider order from Governor Gavin Newsom does not carry any fine. The Los Angeles Times reported recently that more than a dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging the governor’s right to impose such orders, but state law permits the governor to ask the Department of Public Health to step in during an emergency.
The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department statement said, “Beginning this month, we will start issuing Administrative Citations for people who are not conforming to the Order to wear a face cover/mask in public. Our last option was to conduct enforcement by issuing an Administrative Citation, but the risk to Community health is too great.”
Also on Wednesday, the governor closed down indoor dining in restaurants in Los Angeles County and several other hard-hit California counties, just a few weeks after they had reopened.
The city of West Hollywood, with a population of approximately 36,000, is a separately-governed city within the city of Los Angeles borders. While the city of Los Angeles relies on the Los Angeles Police Department for enforcement, West Hollywood works with the L.A. Sheriff’s Department instead.
Beaches in Los Angeles County and most of Orange County will be closed over the Fourth of July weekend as coronavirus cases in California have seen a sharp rise over the past weeks.