As county health officials warned of a new rise in coronavirus cases, the Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to allow business owners to refuse service to patrons who do not wear masks or face coverings while on their premises.
“Small business owners and their employees are risking their lives to stay afloat in the midst of this economic and public health crisis,” said Councilman Herb Wesson, who authored the proposed requirement in July.
“Wearing a mask saves lives, and this simple, common-sense law will save lives and allow us to beat this virus sooner rather than later.”
According to the ordinance, a face covering or mask can be made from a variety of materials such as cotton, silk or linen. A face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.
Wesson said his motion came after “major setbacks” in July regarding COVID-19 and the response to it in Los Angeles and the state of California. Since then, Los Angeles County cases had dropped and are now on the rise again.The 7-day rolling average has risen from 1,000 cases a day ten days ago to and average of over 1,400 cases a day on Tuesday.
“Koreatown’s small business owners should not have to choose between going to work and their safety,” said Laura Jeon, president of the Korean American Federation Los Angeles. “This motion by Councilman Wesson will go a long way to keeping our small businesses and their employees healthy and, by extension, our community as a whole.”
The ordinance was adopted under an urgency clause, meaning it will be in effect immediately, pending Mayor Eric Garcetti’s approval, and would end after the city’s Safer at Home orders are lifted.
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