Everyone must wear face coverings when they encounter others outside their homes in the city of Los Angeles under new orders intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the easing of other restrictions allows more people to return to work and recreation.
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the requirement Wednesday evening, saying reasonable precautions must be taken as steps are slowly being made to reopen the economy.
While a statement from the mayor’s office said people “must wear face coverings when outside of home,” Garcetti said in a briefing that the rule requires people to have a face covering with them for use in any encounter with someone outside their household.
“Simply put, bring your mask with you whenever you leave the home,” he said. “You never know when you’re going to bump into somebody around a corner, in a park and see somebody. Have your mask with you when you leave your house, and as long as you’re not doing a solitary activity or with your own household, put that mask on.”
Previously, customers and employees were required to wear face coverings inside essential businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Small children and people with disabilities were exempted from the new requirement.
Michelle Park wore a pink mask that matched her shirt as she walked a few blocks from Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday. Park said she didn’t realize that rules for face coverings had become stricter.
“I’ve pretty much worn one since the lockdown happened,” she said. “You do get used to them.”
Park said she’s started sewing her own masks out of old T-shirts or socks. She gives them to family members and her boyfriend, who often forgets to carry one.
“I have to remind him,” she said.
The easing of the “safer at home” orders issued by the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County began last week with the reopening of some retail using curbside pickup, hiking trails and golf courses. Beaches reopened on Wednesday.
New modifications now allow all retail to open with curbside or doorside pickup except those in indoor malls. Manufacturing and logistics businesses supporting those retailers may also get back to work, and additional recreational spaces are reopening.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for up to three weeks. The vast majority recover. Some older adults and people with existing health problems can experience severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.