Laguna Beach Orders Essential Business Workers to Cover Their Faces

Whole Foods Market in Downtown Laguna Beach started providing masks to employees and vendors inside for more than 15 minutes this week. Photo courtesy of Google

Laguna Beach is requiring all employees to cover their faces while in public and at essential business locations starting Friday to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Not complying with the order risks civil penalties of up to $500 per violation per day and possibly other enforcement action by city officials, according to an order signed by City Manager John Pietig. Orange County Public Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick strongly encouraged essential workers Wednesday to wear non-medical grade masks or face coverings to prevent the additional spread of the coronavirus.

“We are requiring all essential workers in Laguna Beach wear a face covering to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Pietig said in a prepared statement. “This is an additional level of protection for both our residents and our essential workers still on the frontlines providing food and critical services to our community.”

The order encompasses workers at grocery stores, pharmacies, home improvement stores, gas station convenience stores, restaurants providing take-out or delivery, banks, savings and loans, and credit unions.

Among the list of allowed face coverings are scarves of dense fabric and without holes, bandanas, neck gaiter, or other fabric face coverings, according to a city press release. All persons are discouraged from wearing surgical masks and N95 masks for non-medical reasons.

Sgt. Jim Cota, a Laguna Beach police spokesperson, said Friday that officers aren’t actively looking to cite violators while on patrol but can do so.

“We’re looking to educate and making sure everyone is doing it and we’re seeking compliance,” he said.

When asked if residents should call the police if they encounter someone not complying, Cota said, “that’s not a 911 thing.”

Laguna Beach police business liaison offers go visited all of the city’s grocery stores this week to check-in with their management.

Pavilion’s told officers that it will require all employers to wear masks starting Friday but all employees were already wearing them voluntarily on Wednesday, Cota said.

Whole Foods Market is providing masks to employees and vendors who are in the store for longer than 15 minutes. Gelson’s and Ralphs markets will also require all employees to providing face masks starting Friday, Cota said.

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  1. Awesome step to tame the tide of covid-19. But what about the SHOPPERS?!? At Ralph’s yesterday while loading up a basket to overflow, many shoppers huffed and puffed around the store without ANY type of mouth/nose covering. Even more concerning: the white male, late 60’s in a black cowboy hat, coughing and hacking into a dirty wrinkled hanky(which he then crammed into his back pocket)entering the store sans mask to shop. C’mon locals, let’s beat this pandemic. I REALLY miss the beach!


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