Face coverings are not required at indoor retail establishments in Los Angeles County, though health officials strongly recommend them due to COVID-19 — but one Westside retailer looking to cut down on criminal activity has banned masks altogether.

Operators of the Kitson Los Angeles store at 115 S. Robertson Blvd., near the Beverly Center, have posted a sign alerting customers that face masks are not permitted inside “due to the safety of our staff & assets of the store.”

In an Instagram post announcing the move last week, store officials said elected leaders “are clueless what obstacles businesses have to overcome to protect their staff and assets of their business.”

“We need to see the faces of the criminals. Please pass this along and hope other businesses will follow,” according to the social media post.

In a statement released to CBS2 on Sunday, store owner Fraser Ross said the ban on masks is a move to “prioritize the safety of our staff and customers.”

“We noticed a disturbing trend of individuals wearing masks to avoid identification in various situations including, but not limited to, shoplifting, verbal harassment and physical assault,” Ross said.

“The mask mandate may have begun as a health precaution, but we believe it is now being used by some people for nefarious purposes. To that end, we enacted our own mandate of sorts. We do not allow wearing of masks in the Robertson store during regular business hours.”

Ross said customers who prefer to wear masks can either make an appointment or shop online.

Masks are only required indoors in Los Angeles County in select locations, including airports, transit centers, health care facilities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities and aboard public transit vehicles. In other locations, masks are only “strongly recommended.”

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