Santa Monica allowing citations for failing to wear mask in public: $100 for first violation

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - MAY 16: People wearing protective face masks walk along the now opened Palisades Park during the coronavirus pandemic on May 16, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, clai (Getty Images)

The city of Santa Monica strengthened face-covering requirements on Thursday, setting designated fines for individuals who don't wear them when required.

Interim City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Lane Dilg issued the Twentieth Supplement to Santa Monica’s local emergency declaration, stating that "face-coverings are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19."

The supplement authorizes administrative citations for failing to wear face coverings, for individuals, as $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second violation, and $500 for a third violation. For businesses, the administrative citations are $500 for a first violation, $750 for a second violation, and $1,000 for a third violation.

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Under the supplement, businesses can also refuse service to any person who does not wear a face-covering or fails to comply with social distancing.  

The supplement clarifies that the face-covering requirement applies: 

— When individuals are or can be in contact with or walking near or past others who are non-household members in both public and private spaces, including, but not limited to, walking through common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities, meaning that a face covering must be visible and ready to be immediately put on whenever a moving person approaches within 30 feet of a non-household member;  
— When patronizing a business, including while standing in line to enter any business;  
— When obtaining services from healthcare operations, unless otherwise directed by the healthcare provider; 
— When obtaining services from and while inside or at any location or facility engaging in essential government functions;  
 — When waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle; 
— When driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present;  
— When participating in an in-person protest; and  
— When engaged in work, either at a business or off-site (other than at one’s own residence) and (i) interacting in-person with any member of the public; (ii) working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time; (iii) working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others; (iv) working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities; or (v) in any room or enclosed area where people who are non-household members are present and unable to maintain a minimum six-foot separation from one another.

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information 

Exemptions from the face-covering requirement apply to the following: 

— Persons younger than two years old;  
— Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering; 
— 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;  
— Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;  
— Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;  
— Persons who are (i) outdoors alone or with household members; (ii) stationary; and (iii) maintaining at least six feet between the edge of the area they are in and the edge of the next closest person’s area;  
— Persons who are actively engaged in a water-based activity, including, but not limited to, swimming and surfing. 
— Persons compliant with the County Department of Health’s Protocol for Restaurants Opening for On-Site Dining under which customers who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service are not required to wear face coverings while they are eating or —drinking;  
— Persons wearing personal protective equipment (“PPE”), such as medical-grade N95 respirator or a similar mask that is more protective than a face covering;  
— Persons compliant with any other reopening protocol issued by the County Department of Health authorizing persons to remove their face coverings. 

Santa Monica’s order is in effect until July 31, 2020.

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