Bay Area Lawmaker Proposes Issuing Fines for Not Wearing Masks

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A Bay Area lawmakers is asking the governor to consider issuing hundreds of dollars in fines for not wearing masks as some people are failing to follow the state mandate.

With the state’s COVID-19 numbers spiking, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa sent the governor a letter asking him to put some muscle behind the mandate and issue fines.

“This virus knows no county lines. I’d like to see some uniformity throughout the state of California,” he said.

It’d be a warning for your first violation, $100 for a second violation and $500 for a third violation. 

“Please, we have a mandate in the state of California to wear a face covering,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We encourage you to do that. We believe that can have a profound impact on slowing the spread.”

At Thursday afternoon’s briefing, Newsom spoke repeatedly about the importance of wearing masks. But when we asked him about the proposal for fines, he said he preferred a different approach.

“It’s a spirit of education, collaboration, cooperation,” he said. “Engagement and we hope that’s the first approach as it relates to enforcement … not a punitive approach.”

“If we can’t do it throughout the state,” said Canepa. “We certainly can lead here in San Mateo County by moving forward.

The proposed fines got a mixed response in Redwood City. But Canepa said he’s already crafted an ordinance he’s prepared to introduce. He’d like to see ambassadors or community service officers carry out the enforcement.

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