'100 complaints in 2 weeks': Contra Costa Co. COVID-19 Task Force prepared to issue fines to violators

ByCornell W. Barnard KGO logo
Thursday, November 19, 2020
East Bay COVID-19 task force reports '100 complaints in 2 weeks'
The Contra Costa County's DA's office is about to get tough when it comes to following new COVID-19 safety restrictions after getting 100 health complaints in the past two weeks.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- An East Bay DA's office is about to get tough when it comes to following new COVID-19 safety restrictions.

With cases spiking in Contra Costa County, a task force is ready to investigate and issue fines to businesses not playing by the rules.

RELATED: Contra Costa County returns to red tier as COVID-19 cases rise

Kourosh Naderi had few customers Wednesday night, at Burger Loft in downtown Walnut Creek.

"It's been raining, nobody wants to sit outside, it's so cold," Naderi said.

A surge in coronavirus cases has put Contra Costa County in the purple tier with tighter restrictions. Naderi's employees know the rules.

"I make sure they have a mask and wash their hands 200 times a day," said Naderi.

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But not every business or individual plays by the rules. The Contra Costa County Da's COVID-19 Task force has already received 100 health complaints in the past two weeks.

"Specifically we're worried about face masks and social distancing," said Scott Alonso, spokesperson from the Contra Costa County District Attorneys office.

Alonso says the task force is prepared to issue fines from $100 to $1000 dollars.

"It's like a traffic ticket, we can escalate that if we see repeat violations, said Alonso.

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Barbershop owner Freddy Sanchez likes the extra enforcement.

"It's important to have people making sure we're doing what's right," Sanchez said.

Anyone with a health complaint can call the DA'S fraud hotline and leave a message. The number is (925) 957-8608 or you can send an email to DA-reportfraud@contrscostada.org

Not everyone thinks the hotline will be beneficial.

"Right now people are angry with a lot of issues that many not have anything to do with that business," said Elizabeth Garcia who lives in Walnut Creek.

"If you're not happy with something, you have the option to leave," said Natalie Garcia.

"We know businesses are struggling, we're not trying to be punitive, we're trying to protect public," Alonso added.

The DA's office says it wants to educate merchants about the health order. And if that doesn't work, they are prepared to take enforcement to the next level.

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