West Hollywood enforces mask use as virus surges

May 04 2021 05:30 pm

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — The city of West Hollywood has initiated efforts to enforce a mask mandate – with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies authorized to issue citations for those not wearing facial coverings in public.

Stressing education over fines, the deputies will first discuss the order and offer free masks, only issuing citations if the people do not comply, according to Captain Edward Ramirez with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“We don’t want to give out citations, but for people who absolutely refuse to wear a mask I can guarantee you they are going to receive a citation,” Ramirez said.

Fees range from $300 for the first offense to more than $500 for a fourth violation. The fines are administrative and not criminal charges.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered people to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public places statewide. The state is closely monitoring case numbers, placing counties on a watch list if their caseloads are too high. Any county listed for three consecutive days must shutter bars and indoor operations at restaurants, movie theaters, wineries, zoos, museums, card rooms and family entertainment centers like bowling alleys and arcades.

The list already includes the largest counties in Southern California, and Wednesday the Newsom administration added three more counties to the list: Napa, San Benito and Yolo. Yuba and Sutter counties expect to be added to the list on Thursday, according to Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Ngoc-Phuong Luu.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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