Hermosa Beach to fine people for not wearing face coverings in crowded parts of city, including beach

No mask? Be prepared to pay a ticket in Hermosa Beach. 

The city of Hermosa Beach began enforcing a new mask ordinance on Saturday that was approved last week by the city council requiring residents to wear face coverings anytime they are in the more crowded parts of the city.

The city follows neighboring Manhattan Beach that implemented a similar policy but without the help of police officers. Instead, four people have been assigned to help with enforcement in the beach community.

“Small actions can make a big difference as we continue to re-open our local economy and businesses, and wearing a face covering is one of the few tools we have at this time to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Hermosa Beach Mayor Mary Campbell. “We have seen how similar measures and visible enforcement in other cities have increased compliance and help assure our residents and visitors that Hermosa Beach is a safe and welcoming place to spend time. This is a time for our community to come together and take action to protect one another by wearing a face covering when in public.”

A girl and her father wear facemasks while they push their bikes in Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, California, on July 14, 2020. - California's Governor Gavin Newsom announced a significant rollback of the state's reopening plan on July 13, 2020 as coro (Getty Images)

The urgency ordinance requires face coverings at all times in downtown Hermosa Beach, Pier Plaza, all city parks, the Strand, Greenbelt and on the beach when out of the water. The downtown area is defined in the city ordinance as the area bounded by 10th Street on the south, 14th Street on the north, the Strand on the west and Hermosa Avenue on the east. It also includes Upper Pier Avenue from Hermosa Avenue to Valley Drive.

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Fines for violating the face mask requirements are $100 for the first offense, $200 for a second offense and $500 for all subsequent offenses within a 12-month period. 

The city said that additional personnel will join the Hermosa Beach Police Department to assist with enforcing the order, including up to four additional health ordinance enforcement officers from a private consulting firm.

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“We welcome this additional assistance to help us enforce measures that can save lives and help us continue to re-open our local economy and businesses,” said Police Chief Paul LeBaron. “Protecting public safety is the Hermosa Beach Police Department’s first priority, and increased crowds and activity in our city, especially during the summer, require our officers to focus on criminal activity and nuisance behaviors that can jeopardize public safety.”

The city said that the urgency ordinance reinforces L.A. County and State Public Health Orders requiring face coverings be worn when a person cannot maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from non-household members.

Exceptions to the face covering requirements include:

• When a person is eating or drinking or engaged in swimming or other water activities 
• Children younger than age 2
• Those instructed not to wear a cloth face covering by a medical provider are also exempt from wearing one. Individuals who are exempt from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition and who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their medical condition permits it. A drape that is form fitting under the chin is preferred.
• Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.

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