The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to give authority to business owners to refuse service to patrons who do not wear masks or face coverings while on their premises amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 has surpassed 7,000 deaths related to the novel coronavirus.
“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.