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San Mateo County considers imposing fines for health order violations

Bay Area

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KRON) – San Mateo County is now considering fining people who don’t wear a mask in public, and the county sheriff says he will enforce it.

San Mateo County Supervisor David J. Canepa said in a statement he will introduce on Tuesday an emergency ordinance that will impose fines for both individuals and businesses who violate the state’s public health orders.

That includes wearing face masks in high-risk settings, such as grocery stores and.

At this time, violations are punishable as a misdemeanor, with fines up to $1,000 and a possible jail sentence of up to 90 days.

The new county ordinance treats violations as “a simple administrative infraction rather than a criminal citation and will apply countywide.”

In support of the ordinance is Sheriff Carlos Bolanos, who said, “In my role to ensure public safety, I fully support Supervisor Canepa’s efforts to save lives during this pandemic and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Here’s a breakdown of how the fines would work:

InfractionAdministrative Citation
Applies to:Individuals and non-commercial entitiesCommercial entities
Enforcement:Officer must observe violationOfficer can observe violation or receive credible report
Fines:· $100 for 1st violation
· $200 for 2nd violation
· $500 for additional violations within a year of the first violation
Min. $250 and max. $3,000 per violation, depending on:
· Gravity of health risk
· Prior warnings
· Intent to profit from violation
· If there were good faith efforts to comply
Appeal process:Written dispute decided by neutral dispute officer; no right to appeal furtherWritten or oral hearing before neutral dispute officer, subsequent right to appeal to superior court

Other Bay Area counties including Contra Costa and Napa have adopted similar ordinances imposing fines for those who violate public health orders in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

San Mateo County was the last in the Bay Area to be added to the state’s COVID-19 watch list.

At last check, there were 5,544 confirmed coronavirus cases and 119 deaths in San Mateo County.

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