SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- It hasn't even been 24 hours since San Mateo County's indoor businesses were mandated to close and public officials are already saying, "we'll fine you," if you're not wearing a face covering.
"This solution around fines; First it brings attention but the second thing it does, is that it saves lives," said San Mateo supervisor David Canepa.
The emergency ordinance proposed by Supervisor Canepa and co-sponsored by Supervisor Warren Slocum suggests a written warning first, followed by a fine if the person does not comply with wearing a mask.
It would be $100 for 1st violation, $200 for 2nd violation, and $500 for additional violations within a year of the first violation.
"Right now (statewide) it's a misdemeanor meaning you can do 90 days in jail and the fine is at a $1000. What we are trying to do is to take it out of superior court, out of criminal court and bring it to civil court," said Supervisor Canepa.
With 5,683 COVID-19 cases and 119 deaths, this was the last Bay Area county to join the watch list and they're hoping this strict change will help them reopen soon.
San Mateo County's Sheriff Carlos Bolanos is supporting this ordinance and already started writing new guidelines for his deputies.
"The approach among law enforcement especially during this time is to really work with our community," said Sheriff Bolanos.
At first officials will approach a person or business not implementing mask wearing and provide a free mask. Multiple county departments will be allowed to fine those who refuse to comply.
"Ideally we are not going to be looking for people not wearing a mask. People are going to report those not wearing a mask in an unsafe manner. We will respond, or park rangers will respond, or code enforcement will respond," said Sheriff Bolanos.
This emergency ordinance will be introduced tomorrow to the San Mateo Board of Supervisors. If approved it'll be implemented right away.
EDITORIAL NOTE: On Tuesday, Aug. 8, the San Mateo Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to pass the emergency ordinance which allows first officials to implement fines on businesses and individuals for violating mask and health orders.
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