City offers more free face shields to businesses as they try to gain compliance with health orders

As restaurants and other businesses continue to reopen in Long Beach, officials are trying to educate rather than cite them on safety requirements meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The city’s health order, which went into effect last week, requires servers and bartenders to wear cloth face masks and a face shield while working. Patrons are required to wear a face mask when they enter and move around the establishment.

The city’s Venue Task Force has so far observed “only a few instances” of the shields not being used at restaurants, Chelsey Finnegan of the city’s Joint Information Task Force said.

“The (task force) has been using a proactive education-first approach during their visits to help these businesses fully understand the specific requirements of the city’s Health Order and safety protocols, including the specifics involving physical distancing and equipment usage,” Finnegan said.

Some businesses have had to make minor adjustments to distance tables, add sanitation stations and change the use of bar areas, but overall most are following the requirements, she said.

The city has so far not issued any citations for restaurants, Finnegan said. But over the last weekend the task force visited 52 businesses, including bars, nail salons and barber shops, across the city and issued some citations, Mayor Robert Garcia said during an update on Monday.

“Most of those were educational visits to ensure people were complying and give folks an opportunity to comply with the new rules,” Garcia said. “We want these businesses to be successful and to continue the reopening process.”

Restaurant owners have said that reopening with the new protocols brings new challenges, causing some to take more time to open their doors to dine-in patrons.

Starting Friday, personal care establishments will be allowed to reopen, but workers also need to wear face shields when they perform services on clients who have to remove their masks, like during a facial.

The city has so far distributed 6,300 face shields to businesses since May and they are distributing more this week.

Representatives from bars, restaurants and personal care businesses can pick up face shields (up to 20 per establishment) in the parking lot of Long Beach Fire Department Headquarters located at 3205 Lakewood Blvd. on a first come, first served basis.

  • Friday, June 26, from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 1, from 2 to 4 p.m.

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.