Restaurant servers in Long Beach are required to wear face shields, similar to this one, in addition to masks.

A health order that went into effect Friday night requires servers in restaurants in Long Beach as well as all of LA County to wear both cloth face coverings and face shields in order to maximize protection for both the employee and patrons.

Because of the last-minute order, and in recognition that restaurants may not have easy immediate access to face shields this weekend, Long Beach officials developed a free program to supply up to 1,000 face shields to Long Beach-based restaurants.

Restaurant representatives can pick up face shields in the parking lot of Long Beach Fire Department Headquarters located at 3205 Lakewood Blvd. Shields are limited to 5 per location, and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Representatives will need to provide their name and their restaurant’s name.

Shields will be available for pickup today, Saturday, May 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Generally, a person wears a mask to protect others, but these face shields are meant to protect the people wearing them,” said Kelly Colopy, director of the Long Beach health department. “Obviously, the patrons can’t wear masks because they’re eating, so these face shields offer protection for servers, hosts and anyone who comes in contact with the public.”

Colopy said that cooks and kitchen workers who don’t interact with the diners, do not have to wear face shields, though they are still required to wear masks.

“You see plexiglas at grocery store check-out lines and in other places. I like to think of the face shields as plexiglas you can wear,” said Colopy.

Colopy said that the effectiveness of the face shields will be evaluated in a few weeks, but, she said, the health order is the safest option for now.

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.