LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies in West Hollywood will issue citations to people not wearing masks in public, ramping up enforcement of a rule that previously had been imposed largely without penalties.
The West Hollywood station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wrote in social media posts Wednesday that the increased enforcement would begin this month.
“Our last option was to conduct enforcement by issuing an Administrative Citation, but the risk to community health is too great,” the statement said.
The non-criminal citations come with a fine of $250 for a first offense, as well as a $50 fee.
West Hollywood contracts with the sheriff’s department for law enforcement. Sheriff’s Deputy Grace Medrano said in an email Thursday the agency overall will continue to seek voluntary compliance but contract cities — such as West Hollywood — can set their own ordinances.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has previously said that the department wants people to comply with stay-at-home orders voluntarily. He said deputies would work to educate people who are in areas closed during the pandemic in the hopes that enforcement would not need to escalate to citations or arrests.
The West Hollywood station’s captain and mayor could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday morning.