Is anyone even enforcing the new stay-at-home order? We asked every Bay Area county

ByAlix Martichoux and Jesse Garcia KGO logo
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Is anyone enforcing the new stay-at-home order? We asked them
The new health order implements a slew of new rules, but is anyone planning to enforce them?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There are a lot of questions when it comes to California's new regional stay-at-home order. One big one: Is anyone going to enforce the new rules?

The new stay-at-home order forces a slew of businesses to shut back down, bans all non-essential travel and forbids socializing with anyone outside your household. We asked every Bay Area county how they are enforcing the stay-at-home order or how they plan to do so. (Remember, only five Bay Area counties are currently under a stay-at-home order.)

RELATED: Everything to know about California's confusing new stay-at-home order

Here's what each county had to say about enforcing the new order:

Alameda: Alameda County says it's focusing on "education and prevention" and law enforcement will "ask for compliance if we see concerning health order violations." A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said, "Violent crime, public safety and protecting the community from criminals remain our main priority."

Contra Costa: The county's focus is on enforcing adherence among businesses, "but individuals can be fined too," the district attorney's office said. "We have started to issue fines and will continue to do so if absolutely necessary. We do issue warnings and most businesses do come into compliance."

Marin: "We lead with education first, allowing someone to correct the matter," said a county spokesperson. "If they are a demonstrated repeat offender, they could be subject to fines up to $500 for individuals or $10,000 for businesses."

Napa: If Napa County enters the stay-at-home order, it will keep using a reporting system as it has for several months. Concerned residents can call or email the county's COVID-19 call center to report a potential violation. "Our initial stance on violations is to educate, which was successful during the first stay at home order in the spring," said county spokesperson Janet Upton.

San Francisco: San Francisco asks people to report any potential business violations by calling 311 and to report any large crowds (not physically distancing) by calling SFPD's non-emergency line. You can also report violations in your workplace online. The city has also launched a Creative Corps pilot program, which sends community health ambassadors to high-traffic neighborhoods to promote best public health practices. The city is using contact tracing data to decide where to focus its education efforts, it says.

RELATED: California breaks ICU hospitalization record for 5th straight day

San Mateo: While the county hasn't yet entered a stay-at-home order, it will focus on educating individuals and keeping businesses compliance if/when new restrictions take effect, a county spokesperson said.

Santa Clara: Anyone concerned about a violation can report it to the county's "Business Compliance" team. Individuals and businesses can both be fined if they are seen violating the health order during an inspection. Santa Clara County Fire is helping with enforcement when it comes to reduced capacities in businesses. Enforcement among the general public, like when it comes to private gatherings for example, is up to local city police departments, the county said.

Solano: A county spokesperson only told ABC7 News that they are using this week to "prepare for the potential shutdown" and would share more information with the community once they believe a stay-at-home order is imminent.

Sonoma: The county is still not under a stay-at-home order, but is "continuing to encourage our residents to practice safe behavior, get tested and avoid large gatherings," a spokesperson with the county administrator's office said.

While we don't expect to see law enforcement patrolling local parks to break out social gatherings, local county health officials and the state are asking people to comply.

"The bottom line is if we don't act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed," said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recent press conference. "If we don't act now, we'll continue to see a death rate climb and more lives lost."

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