CARSON, Calif. – On a rainy afternoon, the Albertson’s parking lot in Carson was slowly starting to fill up.
“I’m going to get butter, some fruit, and I think my siblings wanted some snacks, but that’s about it,” said 18-year-old Brianna Canul, a senior in high school whose days now consist of going to the grocery store and looking out for her four younger siblings.
She wears gloves and covers her face when she goes out to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus. But she has to be extra careful, the City of Carson has what officials say is an “unacceptably high” COVID-19 infection rate compared to neighboring cities; and she lives with eight other family members, including her grandparents.
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:
- A Love Story for the Ages, Cut Short by Coronavirus
- Women's Shelter Changes Protocols to Keep Residents Safe from Coronavirus
- California Starts Project to House Homeless Residents in Hotels and Motels
“Yeah, I am worried, mostly because of my grandparents. They’re old they have different types of diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure,” said Canul.
So a few days ago, her grandfather, an essential worker in construction brought home gloves from his job and her grandmother made her a face-covering out of cloth and elastic.
“I know the CDC advised to wear them, so here I am wearing them," she said.
But it’s not just the Centers for Disease Control. The city of Carson, Los Angeles, as well as Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange counties all now have a rule in place mandating the use of non-N95 masks and face-coverings for essential workers and for residents visiting local businesses.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti says he hopes residents will step up to the challenge.
The website LA Protects lists a few manufacturers where masks can be bought, although when we checked most were on backorder.
Businesses are supposed to provide masks to essential workers, or reimburse them for the expense. Fines and civil penalties up to $1,000 are eventually possible, but localities are asking for voluntary compliance. The City of Carson, for example, will buy thousands of masks and give them out for free.
After coming out of the grocery store, Canul says she felt safe inside. They were strictly enforcing CDC distancing guidelines and almost everyone had their face covered.
“Almost everybody was wearing a mask, there were some people that weren’t but I felt OK," she said. "There weren’t too many people in the store, it wasn’t overcrowded or anything.”
She says she hopes others will follow the new guidelines, so she can protect her grandparents and we can all get back to our normal lives sometime soon.