Masks are de rigueur nowadays, and some municipalities are mandating the wearing of face coverings whenever people are out in public in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
West Hollywood has gone one step further: Don’t wear a mask, get fined. A lot.
“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood Station said Wednesday it would start citing people for not wearing face coverings,” effective immediately, CBS-LA reported. “The department said it took the step after receiving a number of complaints about people not wearing face coverings in West Hollywood.”
The fines start out low but soar for repeat offenders. For a first offense, there’s a $250 fine plus $50 processing fee, the sheriff’s department said in a statement. The second offense brings a $1,000 fine, the third a $2,000 fine — and for a fourth offense, a whopping $5,000 fine.
Update: The fine is $250 and a fee of $50 for a total of $300 for the first offense. pic.twitter.com/o6QE3fkucu
— LASD West Hollywood (@WHDLASD) July 2, 2020
The sheriff’s department said they simply had no other choice but to implement fines. “Our last option was to conduct enforcement by issuing an Administrative Citation, but the risk to community health is too great,” the statement said.
The West Hollywood station polices the city, plus the nearby communities of Franklin Canyon, Universal City, which includes Universal Theme Park, Studios, and Citywalk.
The new fines were applauded by social media users.
“[E]very deputy who issues a ticket will be sued, every fine dropped!! U didnt enforce it at march of city hall political cronies, u cant enforce it against everyone else, thats an abuse of power and a VIOLATION OF PEOPLES RIGHTS!” wrote one person on Twitter.
every deputy who issues a ticket will be sued, every fine dropped!! U didnt enforce it at march of city hall political cronies, u cant enforce it against everyone else, thats an abuse of power and a VIOLATION OF PEOPLES RIGHTS!
— Trixy Wh (@trixywh) July 2, 2020
“What a rotten way to raise taxes on people! I wonder how many days before someone gets killed or severely hurt by cops for not wearing a mask,” said another.
What a rotten way to raise taxes on people! I wonder how many days before someone gets killed or severely hurt by cops for not wearing a mask.
— E (@EmmanuelRules) July 2, 2020
“I just hope this applies to the protestors as well. since they got a free pass for everything else in recent days/months.. they also need to be fined. Not fair to everyone else. Fine one, fine all … Only fair. County doesn’t fine the protestors then they can’t find the public,” said yet another.
I just hope this applies to the protestors as well. since they got a free pass for everything else in recent days / months.. they also need to be fined. Not fair to everyone else. Fine one, fine all .. Only fair. County doesnt fine the protestors then they can't find the public.
— Thisisme (@alwayslastone) July 2, 2020
But KTLA-5 said “Local jurisdictions have been given leeway to decide how — or if — they’ll enforce the statewide mask mandate issued June 18. The order allows for fines and other penalties, including possible misdemeanor charges.”
Face coverings have also been required in Los Angeles County since May 14.
The orders have largely gone unenforced with punitive measures. The West Hollywood station is the only in the county Sheriff’s Department to institute a citation, and L.A. Police Department Chief Michel Moore previously said he didn’t plan to issue fines.
Some people are exempt from the mask orders, including children aged 2 and under, those who are hard of hearing or need to communicate with those who are, and people who have medical, mental health or developmental disabilities that prevent them from wearing face coverings.
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