Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Angelenos Wednesday to wear masks and face coverings and also said he would allow restaurants to add grocery items to their menus, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to change how the city looks and operates.
At an evening news conference, Garcetti said he had been awaiting advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on mask-wearing but with the COVID-19 rate surging had decided to wait no longer.
Residents could use homemade face coverings but should avoid buying medical grade or N95 masks that are in short supply for front line health care workers, the mayor said during his daily news conference.
"This will be the look," Garcetti said, as he put on a black mask during the news conference. "...This is how we're going to be seeing each other."
"When you have to go out, we recommend you use non-medical grade masks or facial coverings and not take the ones that are reserved for our first responders," the mayor said, while reminding residents that they should still avoid going out unless necessary.
The mayor also said that non-essential businesses operating would face criminal misdemeanor charges, with multiple businesses already brought to the attention of authorities. In addition, the mayor said he had authorized the Department of Water and Power to cut utilities for non-essential businesses that continue to operate in defiance of the city and state orders.
Garcetti warned that the current "safer at home" order should be expected to extend into May, well beyond the April 19 date when the order was originally announced.