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Santa Monica Workers, Customers Must Wear Face Coverings or Face Fines

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By Jorge Casuso

April 9, 2020 -- Customers and workers at Santa Monica businesses open during the coronavirus emergency must wear face coverings starting Friday or face fines of up to $500 for patrons and $1,000 for businesses.

The directive issued Thursday -- the 11th supplemental order from the City Manager -- requires "all individuals who work or provide services at 'covered' (or essential) businesses to wear face coverings while performing their work."

It also requires customers of businesses to wear a scarf, bandana, neck gaiter or other mask or covering over their nose and mouth "to provide additional protection for workers and other visitors to businesses."

Customers who violate the order face fines of $100 for the first violation, $250 for the second and $500 for a third and subsequent violations.

Businesses face fines of $500, $750 and $1,000, for the first, second and third and subsequent violations.

"Each day or portion of a day that any person violates or continues to violate any provision" of the order "constitutes a separate violation and may be charged and punished separately," according to the order.

“We have to take every mitigation measure we can right now to flatten the curve and protect our residents, businesses, and workforce,” said City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Rick Cole.

“While a majority of us stay home, many people are providing essential services and we need to protect them," Cole said. "We all have immense gratitude for everyone who is working during this crisis.”

"Covered" or essential businesses include grocery stores and farmers markets, hardware and building supply stores, building-related services, laundromats and dry cleaners, restaurants, hotels and motels, and transportation and shipping services.

Stay at home orders issued by the Governor and County Department of Public Health ecourage but do not require residents to wear face coverings when they leave home to obtain essential goods and services.

Under the order, employers must provide or cover the cost of face coverings for employees as well as access to hand washing at least every 30 minutes.

"Single-use face coverings must be properly discarded into trash receptacles," City officials said.

"Medical grade face masks are not part of this definition and should be limited to use by healthcare and essential service workers," officials said.

Santa Monica's order comes two days after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti mandated that workers in essential businesses wear face coverings effective Friday.

The Mayor also authorized businesses to refuse service to customers who don't wear face coverings.

Santa Monica's order will remain in effect through April 30.

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