Contra Costa, Marin Counties Consider Fining Those Not Following COVID-19 Guidelines

NBC Universal, Inc.

If you’re not following the COVID-19 health orders in Contra Costa County, you may soon get slapped with a ticket.

As cases spike, the county’s board of supervisors is considering an ordinance that would allow county staff to cite those not following the rules. 

“We've been in it since March 16,” said County Board of Supervisor Karen Mitchoff. “By my count that’s four months tomorrow and you should know this is serious and we need everyone to cooperate.”

She says it’s time to step things up and that too many people and businesses are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

“We feel a ticket will do the trick. A $100 fine, a $200 fine,” she said. “We’re not looking to put businesses out of order, we want them to continue but they have to continue in a safe manner.”

Residents say they get upset when they see others not doing their part. Bakery worker Ben Magnus says it’s not pleasant confronting customers who refuse to cover their faces. 

If you’re not following the COVID-19 health orders in Contra Costa County, you may soon get slapped with a ticket. Jodi Hernandez reports.

“Working here, I am not here to battle one’s opinion,” Magnus said. “I just want to serve them cookies so that’s tough, that’s tough.”

The board of supervisors will vote on the proposal next week. If it passes, the ticket writing should begin soon. 

“I think writing tickets to people who aren’t complying if that helps us get out of this faster, I’m all for it,” said Contra Costa County resident Terri Cooper.

Marin County is also getting tough with those who won’t follow COVID-19 protocol. It’s rolling out new enforcement efforts this week that could also result in fines.

Step one of the crackdown is already in place. The county has an email address where people can report businesses that are not following safety rules. The complaints at will go straight to the state’s COVID-19 enforcement team.

“Right now we’re getting a lot of complaints about short-term rentals that are operating and they are not supposed to be operating under our shelter in place order,” said Angela Christenson, Marin assistant administrator.

On Thursday, representatives of every city and town in Marin, code enforcers and law enforcement will meet to decide on a uniform strategy for the entire county.

“We want people to comply with the order so we can slow the case numbers,” Christenson said. “If we have to get to fines and citations we’ll do that but our goal is to educate people.”

In San Rafael on Wednesday, one local resident is hoping people can learn to work things out among themselves.

“If someone has a problem with it and they speak their problem I think they should be taken into account,” said Evan Scott. “It’s a respect thing in my opinion.”

The county’s new crackdown is aimed at businesses and not individuals, though some people are fed up with what they’re seeing every day.

“We just saw some guy go in without his mask and the barista said ‘I can’t serve you,’” said another San Rafael resident, Henry Segura. “You know, stuff like that.”

The final plan will be announced Friday and will include a bicultural and bilingual outreach.

Contact Us