Undeterred by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s messaging for everyone to wear face masks to stop the spread of COVID-19, many LA city workers are not wearing face protectors or taking social distancing precautions while on the job on public sidewalks, NBC4’s I-Team discovered.
Responding to complaints from NBC4 viewers, the I-Team documented numerous city workers ignoring potentially life-saving advice from the mayor, Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Donald Trump--in Garcetti's own neighborhood.
“Adding a protective face covering is another tool to slow the spread,” Garcetti said during his April 2 press briefing.
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City street lightning crews were spotted in Larchmont Village the last three consecutive days, just blocks from the mayor’s mansion, working on the sidewalks in groups of up to seven people closely huddled together, with most not wearing any kind of mask.
When asked by NBC4 why they weren't following the mayor's advice, one worker hurled an expletive; another said he was just "doing my job" and didn't elaborate.
Members of the public nearby told NBC4 they were upset to see the city workers ignoring the guidance because while so many were diligently practicing social distancing. Hundreds of people lined up--at least six feet apart---to get in to the weekly Larchmont Farmers Market.
Garcetti has been determined in his messaging about wearing face protectors and physically distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In his daily press briefing Monday, LA's mayor repeated that practicing social distancing would save lives.
A spokesperson for the LA Department of Public Works said there was a shortage of masks to give city workers, but more masks are "on rush order."
"I don't know when they will be received," spokesperson Elena Stern told NBC4. "We are all scrambling to ensure the safety of our employees, but supplies are in great demand."
NBC4 asked the mayor's press secretary, Alex Comisar, why city of LA workers are not practicing social distancing while on the job and close to members of the public. The mayor's office did not immediately provide a response.