ALAMEDA, Calif. (KRON) – The City of Alameda has been added to the list of Bay Area cities authorizing fines for public health order violations.

The city council approved the new ordinance this week. It’s another tool in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The first violation will cost $250. A second violation carries a $500 fine. And a third and any other violation that follows will result in a $1,000 fine.

Among Alameda County’s 14 incorporated cities, Alameda has the fourth-lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases.

But for those establishments not adhering to the city and countywide social distancing policies, businesses could be fined, according to director Andrew Thomas.

“This is a tool of absolute last resort,” said Thomas.

Thomas says code enforcers will focus primarily on businesses and not individuals. He adds that the hope is that the city won’t ever have to fine anybody and that the ordinance will simply act as a deterrent.

“If a business after three warnings absolutely refuses to follow the rules, then and only then do we think about using the citation process,” Thomas said.

The city council approved the urgency ordinance Tuesday night by a vote of four to one. It permits code enforcers to issue citations for health order violations.

“If you have an ordinance, and you don’t have anything in place to make sure that everybody is abiding by it, then what sense does it make?” shopper Carolyn Woodson said.

“I think it just puts that out there, so people are more aware and this is serious. it’s not just something that’s going to go away,” said Sole Desire sales associate Dana Nettles.

The city says violators will ultimately allowed to appeal their citations.

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