Somehow, the act of wearing a face mask—a small step that we’re all required to do in California to protect each other—became a political topic. Well, now it’s also become something you can get fined over for not wearing.
An increasing number of L.A.-adjacent cities—including West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, but notably not Los Angeles itself—have declared that they’ll issue fines to people who are out and about in public without a face covering.
Outside of those cities, the enforcement picture looks a little different. Governor Gavin Newsom said in early July that he’ll use a number of state agencies to enforce workplace guidelines—but that the mandate for the general public to wear masks will still be a matter of education and not enforcement. Similarly, both L.A. County and City officials have said that local law enforcement have not been asked to step in. “If there’s no mask, there should be no service,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an address in July—but he didn’t indicate that the city’s order would be enforced beyond that.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s West Hollywood station announced on July 2 that it’ll begin issuing municipal code citations in West Hollywood to people who refuse to wear face masks in public while around other people.
The sheriff’s department notes that its first step is to educate people and hand out masks. But in what the department calls its “very last option,” it’ll issue a $300 citation (an administrative—not criminal—citation that includes a $250 fine, plus a $50 fee) for the first violation. Enforcement began in July in the City of West Hollywood as well as Franklin Canyon, the Federal Enclave in West Los Angeles and Universal City (which, yes, includes Universal Studios, which has yet to reopen, and CityWalk), and the Federal Enclave in West Los Angeles.
Santa Monica issued a similar order that was set to remain in place for the month of July and has since been extended through August. In the coastal city, a first violation will cost you $100, while you’ll be fined $250 for a second violation and $500 for a third one. For businesses, the citations are $500 for a first violation, $750 for a second violation and $1,000 for a third violation.
Manhattan Beach will issue citations for $100 for first-time violations, and up to $350 for a third time.
Beverly Hills will fine you $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third.
Glendale has also affirmed its intent to issue fines: A whopping $400 for a first offense, $1,000 for the second and $2,000 for the third.
The South Bay city has adopted an ordinance that requires you to wear a face covering at all times in Downtown Hermosa Beach, at parks, on trails, while on the sand at the beach, on the Strand and Pier Plaza, at restaurants when not eating or drinking, and in grocery stories, medical facilities and other businesses. The fine for the first offense is $100, $200 for the second and $500 for all subsequent offenses within a 12-month period.