Hermosa Beach adds workers to enforce face covering requirement

Additional personnel are joining the Hermosa Beach Police Department beginning Saturday to enforce an ordinance that requires face coverings and imposes administrative fines for violations.
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Additional personnel are joining the Hermosa Beach Police Department beginning Saturday to enforce an ordinance that requires face coverings and imposes administrative fines for violations.

The city is adding up to four additional health ordinance enforcement officers from a private consulting firm to assist the HBPD in enforcing the ordinance, which requires face coverings at all times in downtown Hermosa Beach, Pier Plaza, all city parks, the Strand, greenbelt and beach when people are out of the water.

The measure passed July 28 by the City Council defines downtown Hermosa Beach as the area bounded by 10th Street on the south, 14th Street on the north, the Strand on the west and Hermosa Avenue on the east. It also includes Upper Pier Avenue from Hermosa Avenue to Valley Drive.

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People who violate the face covering requirements face a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 for a second offense and $500 for all subsequent offenses within a one-year period.

Exceptions include children younger than 2 years old; when a person is eating or drinking or engaged in swimming or other water activities; those who are instructed by a medical provider not to wear a cloth face covering; and those who are hearing-impaired or communicating with a person who is hearing-impaired where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.

City officials say the ordinance will help to reopen.

"We welcome this additional assistance to help us enforce measures that can save lives and help us continue to re-open our local economy and businesses,'' Police Chief Paul LeBaron said in a statement released Thursday. "Protecting public safety is the Hermosa Beach Police Department's first priority, and increased crowds and activity in our city, especially during the summer, require our officers to focus on criminal activity and nuisance behaviors that can jeopardize public safety.''

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The city said the ordinance reinforces county and state public health orders requiring face coverings to be worn when a person cannot maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from people outside their household.

A woman who was visiting from Los Angeles said wearing face coverings is the key to getting back to normal.

"Even though it's outdoors and there's a sense of safety, there's a lot of people out. So it is hard to social distance, it's hard to make sure that you're away from people all the time. I think it's much safer to wear a mask," Kelly Wright said. "We want all these places to open up and to start to get back to normal and to do that everybody needs to comply and wear a mask."

Other Southern California cities enforcing a similar rule include Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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