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'The Pushback Has Been Minimal': Santa Monica To Start Citing People Not Wearing Face Coverings

SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — The city of Santa Monica announced Thursday that it would start citing people for not wearing face coverings as the number of coronavirus cases continued to spike.

"As public health experts have shared widely this week, we are in a dangerous period with dramatic increases in cases and hospitalizations," Lane Dilg, interim city manager, said. "Face coverings are essential.

"I encourage everyone to try different styles to find what works for you," Dilg continued. "But it is a critical time to save lives by wearing face coverings whenever we are outside of our homes and not gathering with people outside of our households."

Under the new order, businesses can refuse service to any person not wearing a face covering or who fails to comply with physical distancing mandates. Businesses are also required to ensure those in line and inside the business comply with local orders that remain in effect through July 31.

According to the city, people not in compliance will face a $100 fine for a first violation, $250 for a second violation and $500 for a third violation. For businesses that fail to comply, owners will face a $500 fine for the first violation, $750 for the second violation and $1,000 for the third violation.

"It should have been happening a while ago," Chris Newcomer, assistant manager of Blue Plate Taco in Santa Monica, said. "The pushback has been minimal."

The face covering requirement applies whenever people are in close proximity of non-household members. The requirement applies in both public and private spaces.

There are exemptions for children younger than 2, people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering, those who are hearing impaired or communicate with a person who is hearing impaired where the ability to see the mouth is essential and more.

The announcement comes the day after the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department West Hollywood Station said it would start citing people for not wearing face coverings, with fines ranging from $250-$5,000. Beverly Hills, which made face coverings mandatory in April, also gave its police department the ability to issue citations for those who fail to comply with fines up to $1,000.

"We need to get from that 50-60% compliance level into the 90s," Lester Friedman, Beverly Hills mayor, said. "This is not going to be a criminal record that a person is getting, but it's really a reinforcement of how serious we all are in this state."

More detailed information about the order can be found on the city's website.

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