Who Will Enforce Face Mask Rules in South Bay?

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Stricter new rules go into effect Friday in Santa Clara County regarding face masks, which will now be mandatory when inside any businesses, even if the business is outdoors.

San Jose is considering going even further with its rules. But there is a looming question: will anyone enforce the new rules?

San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia has repeatedly said he will not be enforcing the rules. The chief had a news conference scheduled for Thursday to reiterate his position, but it was called off at the last minute with no explanation. Garcia told NBC Bay Area on Thursday nothing has changed and he still plans to not enforce the rules of mandatory face masks.

The city is slated to adopt even stricter mask rules requiring them whenever someone is anywhere outside their home -- even at parks. It was a hot topic at Tuesday's online City Council meeting.

All along, Garcia has had the same stance on enforcing the county health orders, saying his officers will not do it. He repeated it again at Tuesday's meeting.

"If an officers has to give chase, use force, give a citation, all to enforce a health order, we all know how that conversation will turn, and it's a very difficult position to put my officers in," Garcia told council members at Tuesday's meeting.

In the same city council meeting, both the mayor and vice mayor also acknowledged enforcement will likely not happen except in very extreme cases.

The chief on Thursday said his officers will response to any business that is having issues with a patron regarding the mask rules and react accordingly.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith's deputies in Cupertino, which already has a mandatory face covering order, gave out masks to those who were not wearing them.

In a statement, the sheriff said she prefers education, but her deputies have issued citations to people.

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