Los Altos isn’t requiring masks

An N95 mask. Photo from 3M Corp.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Los Altos City Council has rejected a last-minute proposal by City Manager Chris Jordan to require people to wear masks in public places to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The county’s health order only advises people to wear masks, but doesn’t require it.

Council convened over a telephone conference Thursday night to make the decision. Since the meeting was a “special meeting,” the city only had to provide 24 hours’ notice. The meeting wasn’t broadcast over cable TV or the city’s Facebook page like most meetings.

Instead, listeners had to call in to hear what was said.

Jordan advised the council to pass an emergency ordinance, which would have gone into effect immediately, to require masks for people on public transit, in businesses and while in line at businesses.

Unlike the county guidelines, which advise wearing masks, the ordinance would have made it possible for police to cite people for not wearing masks.

Councilwoman Neysa Fligor said she has seen people not wearing masks at the farmers market. She said she is worried people won’t wear masks when they line up outside retailers now that curbside pickup is allowed.

She said some people are confused about when to wear masks, and the new ordinance would make it clear that they are required.

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins responded that she thinks another ordinance on top of county and state orders would confuse people.

“This whole hierarchy of orders … anybody who thinks that is adding clarity, I think you are out of your cotton-picking mind,” she said.

Councilwomen Anita Enander and Lynette Lee Eng said they didn’t support the new rule.

Council didn’t take a vote since it was clear the ordinance would fail. Mayor Jan Pepper asked Jordan to do more to educate the community about the need to wear masks.

Correction: Masks are required in stores with certain exceptions such as children under 6.



    • I think that’s the idea. The fewer outside people in town strolling around the better. The more people keep 6 feet away the better. A mask doesn’t provide as much protection as being 6 feet away, especially ouside. But the county order to stores still requires masks at businesses. That is legally binding.

    • People, you need to understand something. A virus is 1 micron (and that is a very large virus) or much smaller.

      The mask that starts to filter that size is an N100 or P100 which filters “down to 1 micron” but not always. They both come with a seal that does not allow air in from the sides and straps that have to be adjusted to ensure the edges are right and seal. And you can’t wear a beard with any mask.

      Anything bigger, even a N95 is like having a beautiful home and not having a front door and expecting the rest of the house to keep out robbers. Literally. And the “around the ears” types are like having a frame with mosquito netting around it as a house an expecting it to prevent robbers.

      Viruses also look like sea urchins. They have a lot of proteins sticking out of them that gives them a lot of surface area. That means water evaporates quickly when you sneeze. So yes, a mask may cut down on projectiles, but the moisture evaporates and then all viruses can spread readily out of your mask or in your mask.

      Now are you wearing a hat? Your hair is a magnet for everything and viruses, mold spores, pollen – you name it – your hair is like a huge sieve. So if you are not wearing a hat and an N100 or better mask, you are doing very little.

      And your social distancing does very little. Something smaller than 1 micron floats endlessly in the air.

      The actual death rate is projecting to be 0.05% for covid-19 or lower, which is lower than the flu.

      Now to the positives. It is almost summer. The sun is out and it is very dry and viruses are destroyed very quickly (within minutes) in dry and sunny conditions.

      You are better off taking 600 iu of vitamin D3 daily which has been shown in very large clinical trials to turn flu (influenza) and colds (coronaviruses) into moderate infections or to where you hardly notice.

      Also, wash your hands and get a flu shot. A flu shot helps you build immunity to your body specifically for the flu, but in so doing it also primes the immune system so that it is ready for any viral infection.

      And no, vaccines do not cause autism. There was a study done on 1.2 million children and the study showed if a child was NOT vaccinated it had a greater risk of becoming autistic. Vaccines save lives, pathogens kill millions of people.

      And yes, most us have partial immunity to covid-19. It is a coronavirus, which cause the “common cold.” There are 4 proteins on all coronaviruses that our body recognizes. 3 of the 4 are unchanged on Covid-19 and most of the fourth is the same except where it binds to enter our cells.

      This is why millions and millions of people don’t even know they had covid-19 because their body reacts and clears it very quickly.

      And the biggest problem in the US from late February until April 11 was the flu. From early March until April 5 it crossed the epidemic threshold of 7.3% death rate and was as high as 7.8%.

      If you have high blood pressure, make sure you are not taking an ACE type med. You can check online. If you are, keep taking it until you can have your doctor switch you.

      If you are diabetic, obese, have had a heart attack or stroke, or have a chronic illness or autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis, MS, etc) you are at higher risk. There are two studies that have shown that if you do come down with a bad respiratory infection, you can take famotidine (pepcid) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) and they work together to shut down the wrong response and allow our immune system to correct and eliminate the infection.

      Do not take hydrochloroquine or chloroquine. Both promote the wrong type of immune response and can make the infection worse.

      And enjoy a beautiful stroll downtown Los Altos

      • You make a lot of statements without citing your sources. Also, are you an expert in infectious diseases? What medical studies (Where published) have you read that a flu vaccine helps the immune system fight other viruses? That’s false.
        I hope me and other People will read your note with healthy skepticism since you do not provide any evidence for any of your statements. I agree with some and disagree with others. Even published statistics sometimes lead lay people to over simplify conclusions. My fave: heart attacks cause baldness. So please, give sources or be dismissed.

  1. ‘Councilwoman Neysa Fligor…said some people are confused about when to wear masks, and the new ordinance would make it clear that they are required.

    Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins: “This whole hierarchy of orders … anybody who thinks that is adding clarity, I think you are out of your cotton-picking mind,” she said.’

    Are you kidding me?!

    • I cannot believe she said that: “out of your cotton-picking mind”. It was bad even without “cotton-picking mind”. She needs to go…

      • My jaw was on the floor when I read that. It’s 2020, anyone who’s still so out of touch to say something like this doesn’t deserve to serve on a city council. She’s lost my vote.

        • I think you really need to understand the meaning of the phrase. ( Something people say when they get mad.
          Or it is a replacement for GD or Gosh Darn it.) 90% of Americans say that or get your cotton pickin hands off of me. If you are under the age of 40 you take it as being racist. Sorry but she is the best thing that has happen to Los Altos.

          • I’m 66 years old & I find it offensive. If that woman can fly off the handle in response to another member stating the obvious (that people are confused about when a mask should be worn) & can’t take the time to form a civil reply to respond in a civil manner, IMHO she doesn’t comport herself in a manner befitting a council member and should either apologize or go or both. Jesus’ half brother gave some wise counsel in James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger”.

      • Are you kidding. I am a local, white and a former cotton picker on our cotton farm in Alabama
        This is a typical southern saying having only to do with picking cotton and alluding to an unwise decision. Barbara Arden, arden.barbara@gmail.com.

  2. As a resident of Los Altos and supporter of the Framers Market if masks are not required, I am not going to shop this season at the mask!

  3. If you are that afraid of catching something then simply stay home and quit letting your cowardice dictate how the rest of us live.

    • And Jeannie Bruins accused our multicultural neighborhood of being racist when we didn’t want a lot subdivided. Go figure. She should have been removed from office last year with the Council Chambers fiasco.

    • Not wearing a mask isn’t carelessness, it’s a right, just as the choice to wear one or not go out in public if you’re scared of is. Mental health and economic strain is more concerning at this point than wearing masks.

      • Your right to not wear mask – is that like your right to smoke around non-smoker? Have some empathy about how your choices affect others. Play a part as a citizen in a society. I guess you are saying that your personal right is more important than public health.

      • No it’s not a choice when Santa Clara county was initially 2nd only to LA county for number of COVID cases back in April (it’s now ranked #8 of all CA. counties) and your governing State officials are requiring you to wear a mask in public. Your choice doesn’t override legal authority or even just plain common sense. Let me explain something about common sense. Our bodies are designed to deal with viruses and germs because they help build our immune systems. Because no one really knew what to do about this virus, we were told to mask, social distance & isolate for several weeks. Common sense tells me we now have a large population of people with compromised immune systems. What do you think is going to happen when the sanctions are lifted; or, do you care, as long as you can do what you choose with no regard for others?

  4. Given Jeannie Bruins mysterious medical problem that forced council to re-locate last year, you’d think she’d want to force everybody to wear a mask.

  5. Fligor says having an ordinance consistant with the county and surrounding communities would be less confusing. Bruins says it’s more confusing, and adds an insult. Next election Fligor gets my vote, Bruins does not.

    • Apparently, you didn’t read the order. Los Altos would have passed something different from the county. If it had been the same, then it would have been unnecessary.

      Fligor wanted more stringent measures than the county. By eliminating the option, it would be clear.

      I agree it would be clear, but the confusion would be – whose rules to follow and where to find those rules? Do I need to check the state, county and individual city?

      Just this comment thread shows the amount of confusion out there on what is required and by whom.

      The county rules apply everywhere in the county, unless a city passes something different.

      The county rules requires face masks in certain situations and recommends it in others.

      Read the county order. Read the proposed city order which wasn’t passed, if you want.

      If you haven’t don either, then I wonder why you think you know what they contain?

      • I’ve read the County order and I understand it to say that the only time you DON’T have to cover your face is when you are alone or only with members of your household. When leaving your home, a face covering is required anytime you come within 6-ft of someone from outside your household. As bad as COVID has been in Santa Clara county, it boggles the mind that there are some folks who just don’t get it.

  6. When Fligor and others say a Los Altos ordinance would be consistent with “the county,” they’re stretching the truth. “The county” implies the whole county, as in ~15 cities and 1.9 million people. Actually, “the county” ordinance applies only to the unincorporated areas, which includes just a handful of retailers and no cities. But calling that ordinance “the county” ordinance makes it seem as if everybody in Santa Clara County is going along with this except for Los Altos. This is what you call slight of hand. Fligor should be forced to clarify her comments at the next council meeting.

    • County Health Dept is not limited to unincorperated parts of the county—It covers the whole county and Los Alto does NOT have its own health dept. Consequently, our County Health Dept requires
      a mask, so that overrules Los Altos directives. We Should Wear Masks!!

  7. Good for Los Altos! When this started we were told the goal was to flatten the curve and that a large number of people would catch the virus and a second wave will be inevitable. Somehow it morphed into we need to achieve no sickness or deaths anywhere. That’s impossible. Meanwhile lives are ruined by other means. We need to be less draconian and loosen restrictions.

    • Whatever happened to the good advice of erring on the side of caution? Guess common sense just really isn’t all that common anymore.

  8. I live in Los Altos and will only shop in cities that require masks. Honestly, it’s such a small thing to reduce transmission short of the shelter in place. Even then, only until a vaccine and decent treatment becomes available. To the people whining about their “rights,” there are countless instances in public where your “right” to do whatever you want is limited by public safety concerns. Get over it already.

    • Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

      • And, I assume, your idea of essential liberty extends to masking or not in the midst of a pandemic. You’ll have to forgive me, but I kind of think African Americans being able to walk, drive and jog while Black without fear of losing their lives as essential. Compared to wearing a mask or not; I think you get my drift….

  9. It is now clear that it is not safe to go to Los Altos. Will likely cost merchants a lot of money. I,for one, will stay away.

  10. “The expression ‘out of your cotton-picking mind’ is no longer deemed an acceptable description of a black person in the USA. In April 2018 a white commentator (Brian Davis) said in a broadcast commentary of a basketball game that a black player (Russell Westbrook) was ‘out of his cotton-picking mind’. The perceived racist connotations caused an uproar of protest. Davis, while claiming that the remark was unintentional, apologised, describing the comment as insensitive and a lapse of judgement. Davis was suspended from his position with the broadcaster.” https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/cotton-picking.html

  11. Listen we’ve earned a right and privledge to live in snooty Los Altos. I was so happy when my company finally went IPO so this immigrant could finally live amongst you white folks and join this exclusive club! So back to the point I’m glad they didn’t enforce us to wear mask because us 1% should be exempt from common folk laws…I worked hard to finally earn these “hidden” privledges. BTW I’m choosing to wear a mask but that was my choice.

  12. Lots of outrage here, people missing the point. Council decided not to require masks “in public”. It’s still required to wear a mask inside of a business.

  13. Are masks required in banks? I wanted to know because I’m a little short of money and was considering my options.

  14. I am shocked and in disbelief. Aside from the terrible phrase (which by itself is shocking), the face covering should be discussed fully in the meeting. Palo Alto, Cupertino, Milpitas, Mountain View, San Mateo, SF…are not dumb — their city representatives only performed their duties.
    Have you visited the Los Altos downtown lately? I went there yesterday. It was still like a ghost town. Is the city going to make this worse?

  15. I’m not aware of Mountain View requiring masks beyond the scope of the county health order. This applies to Los Altos as well. Los Altos Hills has no public mask rule for just being outside either. Sunnyvale ditto. San Jose is set to discuss possibly doing so but the Police Chief there is opposed and it is not clear that it will be adopted. Santa Clara has made an ordinance. Palo Alto only repeats the rules in the health order–the Los Altos proposal was broader, or at least potentially so. 4 out of 5 of the city council members didn’t see the benefit.

  16. There is a healthy debate to be had about the need to pass an ordinance for mandatory masks or not! However, Counsilwoman Jeannie Bruins comment the “ “ this whole hierarchy of orders … anybody who thinks that is adding clarity, I think you are out of your cotton-picking mind “ in response to Counsilwoman Neysa Fligor’s advocacy in support of the ordinance was absolutely unacceptable and truly despicable! i wouldn’t have expected blatantly racially insensitive commentary in the Los Altos Counsil meetings!

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