Marin County approves face mask enforcement to curb spread of COVID-19

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Marin Co. proposes enforcement on wearing masks
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Marin County supervisors are considering a temporary ordinance that would impose civil penalties on people and businesses who fail to follow orders aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Marin County supervisors have approved a temporary ordinance that imposes civil penalties on people and businesses who fail to follow orders aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

RELATED: Coronavirus crisis: Face coverings mandatory in Fremont, coming soon in Sonoma, Marin counties

Part of the ordinance calls for allowing more government employees, not just police officers, to enforce laws like the mandate to wear masks.

Everyone is asked to wear a face-covering when they are interacting with others who are not members of their household in public and private spaces. Specifically, the order states that people must wear face coverings when:

Assistant Marin County Administrator Daniel Eilerman emphasized the focus will be on getting people and businesses to comply with health orders.

"I think our first goal would be education and informal intervention," said Eilerman. "But what this does it gives us a new, administrative citation structure to be able to focus to reduce the lack of compliance."

VIDEO: Here's what happens to oxygen levels when you wear a mask

As he puts on mask after mask, the meter shows a steady, and healthy, 98-99 percent.

With a recent spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and landing a place on the state's COVID-19 watch list, the County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis advocated that it's necessary to recruit assistance to enforce the rules and stem the outbreak of the infectious disease.

Willis said in a press release, "The majority of Marin residents and businesses are complying with our public health orders during this pandemic, but there's been an increasing need for stronger enforcement. Ending this health emergency will take a sustained team effort, and our goal with this action is to hold people accountable for actions that jeopardize public health."

"Cities and towns will continue to focus on education to ensure compliance with public health orders," said Greg Chanis, Tiburon Town Manager and chair of the local city and town managers association. "In addition, we appreciate the opportunity to partner with the County on these new enforcement tools to assist in that effort. The virus doesn't respect borders, so we need consistent and flexible tools to educate and enforce in our communities."

LIST: Face masks required at stores including Walmart, Best Buy, Starbucks

Fines will range at $25 to $500 dollars for individuals.

Businesses will face penalties from $250 to $10,000.

As of Tuesday, Marin County reports a total of 3,352 cases, 43 deaths.

RELATED: Who's exempt from California's mandatory mask mandate? Stanford doctor explains

The county announced the creation of an email address,, on July 16 for people to send tips about businesses violating COVID-19 related health orders.

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