Covid-19: County Authorizes Fines for Not Wearing Masks

The County Board of Supervisors today (8/4/2020) authorized enforcement officers, throughout the County, to fine individuals and organizations not adhering to the State’s mask requirements.

Individuals can be fined $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 for each additional violation within the same year. Individual violations must be observed by an enforcement officer (i.e., reporting someone as being in violation is not sufficient; the officer must observe the actual violation).

Commercial entities found in violation will be fined at least $250, and up to $3,000, per violation depending on how serious the violation is, whether or not prior warnings were given and whether or not there were good faith efforts to comply with prior warnings or violations. Fines can be assessed based on either personal observation by an enforcement officer or by the receipt of a credible report from an eyewitness to a violation.

Please note that “enforcement officer” is a broader category than “law enforcement officer”. The County, and cities, can designate agency employees who are not law enforcement officers to act as enforcement officers to enforce this ordinance.

The adopted ordinance decriminalizes failing to wear a mask when it is required by State rules. Previously, violations could have resulted in misdemeanors, which carry both fines and possible jail time. The Board of Supervisors adopted the new ordinance in order to emphasize the importance of complying with the State’s masking requirements.

You can find complete documentation of the Board’s action here. You can find a summary of the State’s mask requirements here.

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