Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Neighbors Stressed About Those Who Don’t Wear Masks

Masked pedestrian walking his dogs on Larchmont Blvd this morning.

Hancock Park Block Captains gathered on Zoom for a virtual meeting last week to check in with each other and the leadership of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association on life in the neighborhood during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to observing an increase in property crimes, the block captains reported lots of complaints from residents about people walking around without masks.

Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered all Los Angeles residents to wear masks or facial coverings when they are outside their own homes, to reduce the spread of  the coronavirus. When the pandemic first broke out, residents were told to save protective facial coverings for healthcare workers because there was a shortage of  personal protective equipment (PPE).  But now, as of May 14th, wearing a mask in Los Angeles is no longer optional.

“Bring your mask with you whenever you leave your home,” Garcetti said. “That will help us get more freedoms.”

That sentiment is echoed by Hancock Park Homeowners Association President Cindy Chvatal-Keane, who told us she gets emails everyday from residents concerned about all the people who are still not wearing masks when they leave their homes.

“Masks are essential if we want to get back to normal,” said Chvatal-Keane. “We have to be in this together or it’s not going to work.”

Block captains discussed putting up signs to remind residents and visitors to wear facial coverings. One even suggested re-deploying traffic patrol cops, who usually mark tires and give out parking tickets, to hand out masks to people who aren’t wearing them. Chvatal-Keane said that’s not likely given the demands on local police, adding that we should be wearing masks for each other.  But she said the association is definitely looking into making some signs, to see if reminding walkers and others will help.

On Larchmont, we have noticed varying degrees of compliance. Business owners tell us that most of their customers are complying, and they have the right to refuse to serve anyone who isn’t wear a mask.

Here’s a reminder of where you must you wear a face covering:

  • Any retail business, including those that are open only for curbside or door side pickup
  •  If you exercise in your neighborhood or are on a trail, golf course or beach (where you must wear a face covering if you are out of the water and people are nearby)
  • If you ride on L.A. Department of Transportation transit buses, Metro buses or trains, or travel through Los Angeles International Airport
  • The new guidelines on face coverings exempt children under 2 and people with certain disabilities.

And here’s a reminder of why you should wear a face covering, courtesy of the LA City Emergency Management Department.

A recent interview with Steven Gordon, MD, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Infectious Disease, and pulmonologist Raed Dweik, MD, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute, looked at the science around masks. Here’s what these doctors had to say.

Face Coverings protect
Face coverings protect wearers from possibly spreading the virus to others, reducing the exhaled aerosols from infectious, but asymptomatic, individuals. Masks can keep the virus from spreading. Additionally, the coverings serve as a really helpful physical barrier when you cough or sneeze, actions can propel this cloud of droplets from you up to 25 or 26 feet. A face covering can “disrupt” that cloud and keep those virus particles from traveling.

The importance of face coverings
As businesses reopen and employees return to work, face coverings can play a pivotal role in helping block the spread of the virus, especially from asymptomatic carriers. The more people in a given space wearing masks, the less viral particles are making it into the space around them, decreasing exposure and risk.

Face coverings can’t do it alone though. They should be used in conjunction with social distancing, not as a replacement of that practice.

Your cloth face covering should:

✔️ Reach above the nose, below the chin, and completely cover the mouth and nostrils

✔️ Fit snugly against the sides of the face

✔️ Be made of multiple layers of fabric that you can still breathe through

✔️ Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damaging the material or shape

Please do not buy surgical masks of N95 masks to use as a face covering. These masks are intended for healthcare workers and first responders. Many items you may already have in your home can be used to create face coverings.

People with a disability

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is currently considered a direct threat by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a business would likely be on solid ground to require customers to wear face masks or coverings when entering their premises. However, a business would not have the absolute right to refuse to provide a customer service based upon the customer’s refusal to wear a face covering. When faced with a customer who is refusing to wear a face mask or covering, businesses should likely limit any questions to the following:

Are you unable to wear a mask because of a disability?

If the answer is “Yes,” then instead of additional questions regarding the disability or demanding documentation, the business should consider moving to engaging the customer in an interactive process to determine possible alternative methods of service that would allow the business to keep its employees and other customers safe, while still providing service/goods to the customer.

Remember: We are in this together and we will get through this together too. Wash your hands, wear a mask and physical distance. For more information, visit:

There are now many more options for masks than there were when we first wrote about wearing masks in late March, when we found some great options in Koreatown. If you are looking for masks that are locally made and support a local business, check out Flicka Children’s Boutique. They have locally made masks for parents and kids. You can also order masks online from Buck Mason. Both Larchmont shops are  now open for curbside pick up.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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