Can I Be Arrested for Not Wearing a Face Covering or Mask in LA?

by Ambrosio Eduardo Rodriguez on Aug. 12, 2020


Summary: Find out more about the laws regarding facemasks in Los Angeles, CA and the potential criminal penalities for not wearing one.

The CDC called on all Americans to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Los Angeles County “asked” everyone to wear face coverings when they were interacting with people who did not live with them.


The City of Los Angeles went a step further. Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an order requiring people to wear face coverings whenever they left their homes and would be near other people. 


Now wearing a face covering is a statewide mandate. Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all Californians to wear a face covering. 


It can be very confusing to have different guidance and orders regarding face coverings. What you should know is that Gov. Newsom’s order makes it a law to wear a face covering.


You probably won’t be arrested for failing to wear a face mask. It is more likely that you will receive a citation or a summons to appear in court. The court may fine you for failing to wear a face mask as required by law. 


However, if you do not wear a face mask according to a state or local order, you are breaking the law. Check with a local criminal defense lawyer to determine what your local law states regarding penalties for failing to wear a face mask.


Face Mask Fines in California Vary by City

Cities and counties throughout Southern California have set fines for violations of the face mask laws. The fines vary. The best way to know how much of a fine you might have to pay if you are cited for a face mask violation is to check with your local government office.


Some of the face mask fines that have been reported so far include:


  • West Hollywood $250

  • Beverly Hills $100 

  • Glendale $400

  • Riverside $1,000

  • Irvine $500

  • Calabasas $100

  • Santa Monica $100

  • Manhattan Beach $100

  • Duarte $100

  • Los Angeles $300


The above list does not include all cities or counties that have enacted fines for face mask violations. Also, the above figures are for first offenses. In some cities, a third offense could cost you as much as $2,000.


When Are You Required to Wear a Mask in California?

You must wear a face mask when you are:


  • Entering a public space or in line to enter a public space

  • In a health care setting or obtaining health care services

  • Riding or waiting for public transportation

  • Working person-to-person with the public

  • Working in areas where food is prepared 

  • Working in a place where the public visits

  • Walking or working in common areas

  • In rooms with people other than household members and social distancing is not possible

  • Operating or driving public transportation, private car services, and ride-share services

  • In outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible


There could be additional requirements based on local face covering orders. Some people are exempt from the mandatory face mask order. Exemptions from the face mask order include, but may not be limited to, people who:


  • Are under the age of two years old

  • Have medical conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a face covering

  • Have a hearing impairment or must communicate with someone who is hearing impaired

  • Have a work-related risk, as determined by government workplace safety guidelines

  • Are obtaining services involving the face or nose that requires temporary removal of the mask

  • Are seated in a restaurant eating or drinking as long a social distancing is maintained

  • Engaged in outdoor recreation or work when social distancing is maintained 

  • Are incarcerated


It is wise to read the state and local COVID-19 orders carefully to ensure you comply with all mandates.


Why Are Face Masks Important to Stop the Spread of COVID-19?

The CDC cites several sources that show that wearing face coverings slows the spread of the coronavirus. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets from person to person. Wearing a face mask can prevent a wearer from spreading the virus to other individuals. 


When we wear a mask, we protect the people around us from catching the virus if we are a carrier or we are asymptomatic. Masks are most effective when we wear them and use other preventative measures, such as washing our hands and maintaining social distancing.


It is important that we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 in California. The number of new coronavirus cases increased significantly throughout June and July, averaging nearly 10,000 new cases a day toward the end of July. 


The curve is beginning to come down as we enter August in California. As everyone follows the mandated face mask orders and follows COVID-19 guidelines, maybe we can continue the downward trend of new coronavirus cases. 


Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys in Los Angeles Today

If you were arrested or fined for not wearing a face mask, contact the criminal defense attorney at The Rodriguez Law Group in Los Angeles, CA today at (213) 995-6767. 


The Rodriguez Law Group

626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 900

Los Angeles, CA 90017

(213) 995-6767

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