California City to Issue $300 Fines for Not Wearing a Mask

Law enforcement officers in one California city will be issuing $300 fines for those who do not wear a mask in public settings.

The West Hollywood station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement on Twitter that it will begin issuing "administrative citations for people who are not conforming to the Order to wear a face cover/mask in public." The fine for the first offense will be $300, which comprises a $250 fine and $50 in fees.

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

Governor Gavin Newsom "recently issued an order for everyone to wear a face cover/mask while in public. West Hollywood sheriff's station has been educating people about face covers/masks since the first order," the sheriff's office said, adding it will begin issuing citations this month.

"Our last option was to conduct enforcement by issuing an administrative citation, but the risk to community health is too great. We ask our community to please wear a face cover/mask while in public in an effort to keep everyone healthy and control the spread of the virus," the sheriff's office said.

Captain Edward Ramirez of the West Hollywood station said in a Facebook post that officers will continue to "utilize education and persuasion and hand out face masks," in addition to issuing citations, as cases surge in California.

Ramirez said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, in coordination with the city of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood station, has been "educating the public...and issuing both warnings and face masks to visitors and community members."

He added, "We will do our best to enforce all laws without bias, using good judgment and common sense."

Newsweek reached out to Ramirez for further comment but did not hear back before publication.

Newsom noted on Tuesday that the state was seeing a surge in virus cases and pointed specifically to the 6.3 percent increase in hospitalizations on Monday.

"So we're seeing an increase, a steady increase in not only a total number of positive cases but total number of hospitalized patients and total number of patients in our ICUs," Newsom said at his Tuesday press conference, the same day the state saw an increase of 5,898 new confirmed cases.

As of Wednesday, California has seen 232,657 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 6,090 related deaths. The state also has 5,196 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 1,617 in intensive care units.

Santa Monica Beach
California's Santa Monica Beach on July 2. Officials across Southern California have closed the vast majority of beaches for the Fourth of July weekend. Mario Tama/Getty