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Glendale residents must wear masks whenever they leave home, exceeding L.A. County order

Following a decision by the Glendale City Council, residents are now required to wear face masks anytime they leave home
Following a decision by the Glendale City Council, residents are now required to wear face masks anytime they leave home.
(Raul Roa / Times Community News)

Glendale residents are now required by law to wear protective face coverings whenever leaving home, exceeding Los Angeles County’s mandate, as city officials attempt to rein in rising cases of the novel coronavirus.

The 4-1 vote by Glendale City Council members on Tuesday brought the city in line with Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which already have the requirement in place. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended people cover their faces in public areas where social distancing is hard to maintain.

Last Tuesday, the city ordered those working and shopping in essential businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, to cover their nose and mouth with a mask, bandanna or handmade covering. Los Angeles did the same hours earlier. As of Wednesday, that became the requirement for all 88 cities in L.A. County.

Wearing masks when doing essential business in public is now the law in L.A. County. ‘It is our hope it doesn’t get down an enforcement issue.’

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A spirited, at times heated, discussion about the public health benefits and enforceability of the Glendale order preceded the vote.

“This is a very basic thing we could do. … We’re talking about lives,” said Councilman Ara Najarian, who proposed strengthening the city’s stance on the issue after seeing people cross each other‘s paths on local streets without face coverings.

Glendale reported its fourth death on Tuesday. The city has at least 278 confirmed cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections continues to climb in Los Angeles County. Here are the latest community-by-community counts.

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The city’s infection rate of 130 cases per 100,000 people is higher than Los Angeles’ rate, as a whole, which is at 110 cases per 100,000 people. However, each city’s testing rates and results are unknown, complicating the picture.

Councilman Dan Brotman, who cast the lone vote against the more stringent mask order, said he thought the requirement might be going too far. He said he would support strongly suggesting residents wear face coverings in public.

“People really need to be outside, not only to do essential activities, but to get some fresh air. You can’t be cooped up at home all the time,” Brotman said during the council meeting, adding that a walk around a quiet neighborhood might not warrant a face covering.

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Though violations are technically punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, Glendale officials signaled they didn’t intend to charge or cite residents.

“It’s more trying to get people to comply through warnings and the like,” City Atty. Mike Garcia said during the meeting.

Glendale Police Chief Carl Povilaitis said he doesn’t have the manpower to enforce the order strictly but added that police officers would do their part in encouraging residents to wear masks.

“I won’t have the resources to respond to everybody’s call that, ‘Hey, so and so is out on their front sidewalk and doesn’t have a mask,’” Povilaitis said during the recent meeting.

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“I would, of course, ask my folks, when they have an opportunity and are driving by and they see something, to make that comment … short of a citation,” he added.

Seidman writes for Times Community News.


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