Los Angeles Face Covering Order Explained: Mask Requirements for Residents When They Go Outside

Mayor Eric Garcetti has required all Los Angeles residents to wear face masks when they go outside. Residents, excluding children under two years old and people with disabilities who could be harmed by wearing a face mask, should wear masks when they might be near others who don't live in their household.

People won't be required to wear masks if they're taking part in a solo activity or if they go out with members of their household, or if they're engaging in water activities. However, Garcetti recommends that people take a mask with them whenever they leave their homes, in case they do come across other people.

In a briefing yesterday, Garcetti said: "Simply put: Bring your mask with you whenever you leave the home. You never know when you're going to bump into somebody around a corner in a park."

Previously, passengers at Los Angeles International Airport and people using public transport, like the regional Metro transit system's buses and trains, and city transit buses, had to wear masks. City residents were also already required to wear masks inside businesses like supermarkets.

Face Mask LA Beach
A man wearing a protective face mask walks along the shoreline on May 13, 2020, in Marina del Rey, California. Los Angeles County beaches re-opened yesterday after a six-week closure and now requires LA residents to wear face masks. Amanda Edwards/Getty

Individuals needing to purchase face masks should do so from the companies recommended by local authorities. Members of the public are advised to purchase non-medical face masks that follow Kaiser Permanente's design specifications, by Lefty Production Co., Reformation, Buck Mason, Worlds Best USA, Mother Denim, LA Sewing Solutions, or Indie Source.

The city website states that individuals will not be reimbursed for the cost of the masks they purchase.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued advice on how to make your own cloth face covering with fabric, and from a t-shirt or bandana. Medical grade face masks should be reserved for frontline workers.

Garcetti also announced that the city's Safer at Home order will remain in place beyond May 15, saying: "Depending on public health conditions, we will continue to adjust the order to safely allow more businesses to operate and more people to get back to work."

All LA County residents, whether or not they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, can get tested for free. Priority for the same or next day testing is still given to people with symptoms and frontline key workers who interact with the public. LA residents can schedule a coronavirus test online now.

According to the Los Angeles government website, Los Angeles county has 34,428 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 1,659 deaths. The graph below, from Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, by U.S. state.

COVID-19 U.S. States Statista
A graph from Statista showing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases by U.S.state. Statista