SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The grace period is over in Santa Clara County as officials take more of a hardline approach to getting businesses to comply with the coronavirus health order.
Over the holiday weekend, the county issued more than 181 violation notices with fines totaling close to $115,000.
Many of the businesses were located inside shopping malls. The most common violations included failure to submit and display a social distancing protocol, as well as failure to post the revised capacity limit.
"It signals to employees that they are in a safe working environment. It signals to the public that this is something that this is a safe space for them to enter, a safe business for them to patronize, and for the whole community, it means that we're all doing our part," said county spokesperson Betty Duong.
The enforcement comes as the county braces for yet another holiday-related surge.
On Tuesday, officials reported 384 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to more than 35,000 countywide. Public health policy experts hope that some of the county's measures will help slow down the spread.
"The county is indicating the seriousness of this situation," said Dr. Josh Salomon, a professor at Stanford School of Medicine. "Without putting in place even stricter measures to limit people's activities, (so) I think this effort at enforcement is an example of the county trying to strike that balance."
This week, the county also implemented a mandatory directive for people traveling from more than 150 miles away to quarantine.
"We need people to be able to see the consequences of not following the rules, as well as the advantages of following the rules," said Dr. Thomas Plante, Santa Clara University psychology professor, who also made mention of a potential vaccine. "We just have to be hyper-vigilant for a few more months, and we're almost there. None of us want to be the last soldier killed in the war before the peace treaty is signed."
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