If you live in Los Angeles and plan on venturing out of your house anytime soon, don’t forget to grab a face covering before you head out — and be prepared to put it on if you encounter anyone along the way.
That’s under the new, expanded face mask rule announced Wednesday evening by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said the new order is simple.
“Wear a face covering when you are near others who do not live in your own household,” the mayor said. “Simply put: Bring your mask whenever you leave your home.”
The only exceptions to the rule are for children under the age of 2, kids with breathing problems, and people with a disability.
The only time you don’t need a mask is when you’re doing a solitary activity, or when you’re with only the people in your household, Garcetti said.
Alex Comisar, a spokesman for Garcetti’s office, said Thursday it’s imperative for all Angelenos to understand when the rule applies.
“We want to be very clear. Any time you’re leaving your home you need to have a face covering. That’s what’s going to help us save lives, especially as we begin to give back more of our parks and open spaces,” Comisar said.
When you need to wear a mask:
- Any time you interact with a person outside of your home
- Picking up items from stores via walk-up or drive-up (even if you remain in your car)
- Outdoors when you have the potential to pass by or come in contact with a person outside your household
- When visiting anyone outside of your household
“It is critical that — when people have the potential to come into contact with each other — that we have face coverings on,” Comisar added. “We need people to heed this requirement and to make sure you have your face covering every time you leave your house.”
The mandate is intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but it doesn’t take the place of other safety measures: staying home as much as possible, frequent hand washing, and 6 feet of social distancing in all settings.
“The threat is just as great today as it was the first day that this COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus landed in L.A.,” Garcetti said Wednesday evening.
The mask rule change comes as the city enters a new phase allowing more businesses to reopen.
Meanwhile, the new order may help address an issue that’s arisen in recent weeks: mask-shaming. Now, there should be no question: Wearing one is required in almost all situations.
Though the city and county until now did not require masks for residents taking a solitary stroll in their neighborhood, going mask-less has generated uncomfortable interactions for some — including debate on social media and community platforms such as Nextdoor.
Silver Lake resident Claudia Kunin told KTLA she has bumped into locals without masks who seem abashed.
“When they see me, they’re … embarrassed, and they’re covering up their faces,” Kunin said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I just left the house,’ and they’re ashamed.”