Category Archives: #Masks4All

Solano County officials not even discussing fines for face mask violations

Will Solano County start citing mask rebels?

Napa, Marin counties enact policy

Vallejo Times Herald, by Richard Freedman, July 24, 2020
People walk along the waterfront in Vallejo, some choosing not to wear face coverings. Solano County will not follow the lead of counties like Marin and Napa that could possibly cite those who are not in compliance with mask regulations. (Chris Riley—Times-Herald)

Solano County will not take Napa and Marin county leads and levy fines against those who refuse to wear face coverings during COVID-19.

Erin Hannigan, Solano County Board of Supervisors, District 1, said no similar policy is in discussion.

“We are not contemplating one at this time,” Hannigan said Friday, adding that “Cities are on the front lines of enforcement of the shelter-in-home orders.”

Napa and Marin counties approved fines up to $500 for violators ignoring state and local health orders after California surpassed New York on Wednesday with the highest COVID-19 case count. On Thursday, the state reported a record seven-day average for deaths.

Marin County can fine anti-maskers $25 to $500 and businesses can be fined between $250 and $10,000 for compliance failure.

Napa County passed its emergency ordinance July 14. People who hold gatherings or walk outside without a face covering risk fines mirroring Marin’s. Businesses could pay up to $5,000 for failing to enforce mask and social distancing rules.

It will not rely on sheriff’s deputies or city police officers. Instead, the county will use staffers in its code enforcement office. The ordinance leaves the level of that enforcement to a city’s discretion.

“I’m interested in seeing if the policies are effective,” Hannigan said.

In Vallejo, economic development director Annette Taylor communicates with any business that has been reported as violating “must-wear-mask” edict and will do spot checks, said Mayor Bob Sampayan.

A second complaint against the business garners a letter from the city attorney’s office.

So far, Sampayan said, “we haven’t needed to take it to the point of issuing a citation.”

Hannigan said enforcement would be difficult with an already-stretched thin police departments “and a very stretched Solano County Public Health office. It would be easier to enforce face coverings in businesses because the businesses are licensed through city’s and they can self regulate customers in their business. Individual face covering enforcement is harder.”

Solano County is following the COVID-19 guidelines from the California Dept. of Public Health which mandates wearing face coverings.

“We have to be reasonable and use common sense,” Sampayan said. “There are times you can’t wear a mask. Say you’re sitting outdoors at a restaurant for dinner. Are you going to be wearing a mask between bites and sips of a drink? That doesn’t make sense. But if you’re standing in a lobby of that restaurant, you should be wearing a mask and do the social distancing.”

Sampayan acknowledged that an elected official can influence adherence to public policy.

“I was chatting with a person on the waterfront the other day with several people around,” Sampayan said. “I had my mask on and one of them looked at me and said, ‘Sorry,’ and put their mask on.”

“For the most part, the majority of the public respects the need and the reasoning behind having to wear a mask,” Sampayan said. “I’m thankful for that. As (Dr. Anthony) Fauci said, “If we were to wear masks we can stop the spread within several months. This is not going to away on its own.”

Sampayan has been confronted by several who believe it’s their right as an American to not wear a face covering in public.

“I’m not going to debate with people. If you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t wear a mask,” Sampayan said. “However, think about the people around you. How many have we seen nationwide adamant that it’s their right to not wear a mask … and the next thing you know, they’ve come down with COVID-19 and they die.”

“We have had more residents speak at our Board meetings who are against wearing face masks,” Hanigan said. “I’m all for making sure everyone has a face covering and leading by example.”

Several sidewalk diners in front of Good Day Cafe in downtown Vallejo offered feedback Friday afternoon on the mask debate. To fine or not to fine?

“I think it depends on the situation,” said Tanya Hill of American Canyon. “I’m sitting here ready to eat, drinking a beverage. Clearly, I can’t wear a mask. Again, it depends on the situation. To just walk up to someone, ‘I’m going to ticket you,’ I don’t think that’s the best use of police.”

Requiring a merchant’s employees to wear masks “I think is a good way to go,” added Hill. “I think as a community we should all be invested to make sure everybody stays safe. One of the things I remember learning in high school civics: My rights end where your rights begin. You have as much right to be free from infection as I do. If I choose not to wear a mask, that hinders your rights. ”

Another diner, “Joe,” said a fine policy for not wearing masks “is good if you can’t social distance.”

Tyler Mitchell, however, disagreed.

“I think it should be left open to the individuals. I think that if you feel like you need masks for your own personal health you should wear one,” Mitchell said. “I don’t think it should be imposed on anyone else.”

Raymond Prather, owner of The Victory Stores downtown, believes that if there is an ordinance in place for individuals, “people should at least get a warning first.”

However, he added, “I don’t think people should be fined.  I think people should just have the sense to wear them.”

REMINDER: Facemasks are mandatory in Benicia…and statewide!

Benicia order in effect as of June 16, California as of June 18

By Roger Straw, July 10, 2020

Face coverings is NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE – it’s for your safety and mine, and for STOPPING the pandemic.

But I see way too many people in public places not wearing face masks.  Yes, right here in Benicia.

On June 16, the Benicia City Council passed Resolution No. 20-78, A Resolution of The City Council Of The City Of Benicia Requiring the Use of Face Coverings in Indoor and Enclosed Public Spaces.  Two days later, the California Department of Public Health issued its mandatory “Guidance For the Use of Face Coverings.”

Both documents spell out circumstances and situations in which face coverings are required, as well as exceptions to the orders.  Today might be a good time to review both, and be prepared when you go out.

Be aware – as of yesterday, we had 409 positive cases of the virus in Solano County, including 40 here in Benicia.  It’s here among us, and it’s incredibly contagious.

I know… we’re all tired of the social distancing and the masks, but we need to maintain our focus to beat this thing.  Let’s all keep our politics – and our aerosol emissions – to ourselves.

Solano County wake up! Gov. Newsom threatens counties that don’t order mandatory masks

Newsom threatens California counties that defy coronavirus rules as cases spike

San Francisco Chronicle, by Alexei Koseff June 24, 2020 
Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference in Sacramento on June 5.
Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference in Sacramento on June 5. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom could withhold financial relief from local governments in the upcoming state budget if they do not follow guidelines that he says are necessary to tamp down the spike in coronavirus cases in California.

The budget deal with legislative leaders announced this week ties $750 million in funding to replace lost tax revenue for county services, as well as $1.3 billion for counties and $500 million for cities from the federal bailout package, to local governments’ compliance with the stay-at-home order and other state requirements on the coronavirus response.

Newsom, through his Department of Finance, could order state officials not to send local governments their portion of the money if they do not certify they are following the rules, which include a new mandate for Californians to wear masks nearly everywhere outside the home.

At a news conference Wednesday, the governor said that authority would give him leverage over those who “simply thumb their nose” at state guidelines. He did not specify how cities and counties would be expected to prove their compliance, though he added that he was trying to encourage good behavior rather than punish bad behavior.

“We give an enormous amount of power, control and authority to local government, but what we’re now looking for is accountability,” Newsom said.

Since the state rolled out its requirement for face coverings last week, county sheriffs and local police chiefs from Orange County to Sacramento have announced that they do not plan to enforce the order. The mayor of Nevada City, in Nevada County, encouraged residents to defy the mandate to “prevent all of us from slipping down the nasty slope of tyranny.”

Newsom, who has previously used state regulatory agencies to pressure businesses and local governments that defied his lockdown measures, said Wednesday that the “power of the purse” would give him another tool.

“If counties that have submitted that they need more state money to address this pandemic but are unwilling to enforce the rules and laws related to mitigate that pandemic, it seems not only counterintuitive that you would continue to provide those resources, but actually harmful to the broader effort,” he said.

California reported a record 7,149 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, Newsom said, which he attributed not only to an increase in testing but also a rising rate of positive tests. The state has recorded more than 12,000 cases in the past two days.

Hospitalizations of coronavirus patients have grown by 29% over the past two weeks, to 4,095, though the governor noted that is only a fraction of the state’s capacity.

Newsom blamed the spread on more Californians venturing out of their homes to visit family and friends, which he suggested was threatening the ability of the state to continue reopening its economy.

“Many of us, understandably, developed a little cabin fever. Some, I would argue, have developed a little amnesia. Others have just, frankly, taken down their guard,” he said. “It is our behaviors that are leading to these numbers, and we are putting people’s lives at risk.”

Earlier this week, Newsom acknowledged that he might have to shut down businesses again if the state loses control of its coronavirus outbreak. He released a video with former governors Jerry Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis and Pete Wilson encouraging the public to wear masks.

On Wednesday, Newsom pleaded with the public to continue washing their hands, wearing face coverings and avoiding large crowds and intimate gatherings.

“Consider others in your life and strangers. Love thy neighbors like yourself,” he said. “If you cannot practice physical distancing, then are you practicing love?”

Coronavirus: Here’s who has to wear a mask in California and when

Exceptions include kids under 2 and those exercising outdoors

Vallejo Times-Herald, by Fiona Kelliher, June 19, 2020

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a new order Thursday mandating that Californians wear masks in most public settings as the state sees an uptick in new coronavirus cases and businesses reopen.

The mandate calls for Californians to cover up while waiting in lines or indoors in public places, in various work settings and while in healthcare facilities. Here are the details:

You must wear a mask when …

  • You’re inside any public space or waiting in line to enter one
  • You’re in any healthcare setting, like a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic or blood bank
  • You’re waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle
  • You’re interacting with a member of the public at work, or working in any space visited by the public, even if you’re alone inside the workplace
  • You’re working in a setting where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution
  • You’re working in — or walking through — common areas like hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking lots
  • You’re in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of your own household, are present — and physical distancing is difficult
  • You’re driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle and other passengers are present
  • You’re outside in a public space and physical distancing isn’t possible

 You don’t have to wear a mask if …

  • You’re a child under the age of 2
  • You have a medical, mental health, or developmental disability that prevents wearing a mask
  • You’re hard of hearing or communicating with someone hard of hearing who needs to see your face
  • Wearing a face covering would create a risk related to your work — as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
  • You’re obtaining a service involving the nose or face and need to take off the mask to do so
  • You’re eating at a restaurant, provided you’re at least six feet away from the nearest table
  • You’re swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running outside and able to maintain social distance
  • You’re incarcerated. Prisons and jails will have their own specific guidance on face masks, according to the state