Virus Outbreak Texas Jail Masks

Samples of cloth masks made by Fort Bend County Jail inmates are on display at the jail Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Richmond., Texas. The Fort Bend County Detention's sewing program are making the face masks to be distributed to all inmates and jail employees as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus. (Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Redondo Beach residents woke up Friday, April 10, to learn workers at the city’s essential businesses, as well as their customers, must wear masks to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

City Manager Joe Hoefgen issued the emergency order late Thursday, April 9, and it went into effect midnight Friday. The order requires workers and customers of grocery stores, pharmacies, dry cleaners and other retail businesses deemed essential — and allowed to stay open — to wear non-medical-grade face masks.

Delivery and construction personnel must also cover their faces — particularly the nose and mouth — while working among others, Hoefgen wrote in a statement.

Redondo Beach is the latest South Bay city to enact a mask requirement. The Carson City Council mandated masks on Tuesday, April 7. And a mandate for workers and customers at grocery stores and restaurants — which can still offer delivery or take-out — to wear masks in Torrance goes into effect Saturday. Both the city of Los Angeles and Riverside County mandated face masks earlier this week as well.

Officials, however, have urged people not to wear medical-grade masks, which are in short-supply for workers in hospitals and other essential businesses remaining open during the stay-at-home orders.

Research has shown the highly contagious virus can be transmitted from person to person simply by them being in the same room together.

Covering the mouth, nose and eyes, as well as keeping at least 6 feet away from others, health experts have said, can help slow transmission rates, in part because some people without symptoms may unknowingly infect others.

Violating Redondo Beach’s coronavirus prohibitions and other mandates, according to the emergency order, is considered a misdemeanor, carrying up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

The order in Redondo Beach will remain in effect until midnight on April 24, unless extended, Hoefgen wrote in the statement.

Manhattan Beach City Council, meanwhile, will consider a similar ordinance next week; the proposed ordinance would require “face coverings” instead of “masks,” according to multiple councilmembers, so the community won’t think there’s a mandate to wear N95 masks, which are currently scarce and necessary among medical workers.

“Us wearing them when we go into stores is to protect those on the front line,” Councilwoman Nancy Hersman said Friday, during a teleconferenced council meeting. “It’s not selfish to wear a mask; it’s selfish to not wear them.”

The community would likely self-regulate, Manhattan Beach Councilman Steve Napolitano said during the meeting, and Code Enforcement officers wouldn’t crack down on it like they have with social distancing.

Staff writer Tyler Shaun Evains contributed to this report.

Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

Load comments