L.A. Council Orders Report on Requiring Face Coverings in Public


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council voted today in favor of having “health experts” deliver recommendations on requiring people to wear face coverings or masks in public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councilman Paul Koretz, who made the initial motion, said children 2 and younger should not be required to wear the face coverings nor should people who have certain underlying health issues, as they may make it harder for those people to breathe.

He said any laws the council considers to require face coverings could be applied to golf courses or other outdoor recreation once the city opens such facilities.

“Face coverings ... made of cloth, bandanas, scarves are all okay,” Koretz said. “Medical-grade masks, of course, should be worn by health care workers. Enacting such a policy would help us slow the spread and eventually work toward the phasing of ending ... the restrictions.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti's COVID-19 Safer at Home orders require people to wear masks while frequenting businesses allowed to stay open during the pandemic, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

“Angelenos, so far, have done an amazing job of physical distancing and have flattened the curve, but we need to remain vigilant, particularly as people start to feel like the health crisis is over,” Koretz said. “The health crisis is not over, and when we reopen, we need to keep Los Angeles from having a spike and endangering our health care workers with a flood of new cases.”

Councilman Bob Blumenfield said he would like the report to include information on masks with one-way air valves on the front and whether they're effective at keeping others safe.

“If we require masks that don't do what they are supposed to do, then we are failing in our mission,” Blumenfield said. “Our mission is to protect people, and we need to know whether or not these one-way valves are protecting people or not before we ... tell them what masks they're required to get.”

Councilman Gil Cedillo said he would like to see information on how the city would enforce a law requiring people to wear face coverings in public, as there have been many cities with protests where people did not wear masks in public.

Councilman John Lee said he would urge caution on requiring people wearing masks anywhere in public, as some people may already feel confined from having to stay at home over the last eight weeks.

Koretz's initial motion would have had the City Attorney's Office draft an ordinance to require people to wear the face coverings, but that was later amended to just request the report.

Koretz said he would like the report to be delivered to the City Council by next week.

Photo: Getty Images

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