Santa Ana officials Wednesday were drafting a plan that could lead to fines for not wearing face coverings in an attempt to curb a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to direct the city manager and staff to prepare an executive order, said Santa Ana Mayor-elect Vicente Sarmiento.
Sarmiento said he expected the order to follow “state guidelines, but add an element of enforcement.”
A statewide order requires wearing face coverings when outside of the home with various exceptions.
“Really, the intent wasn’t to be punitive or onerous, but to provide an additional tool in the event we have businesses or people gathering that don’t seem to be following the directives and that’s when something like this will serve as an educational tool to remind folks what’s important, but also to serve as a deterrent to those who disregard those mandates,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento added that “we’re trying to hopefully be more persuasive and maybe have some fines and light infractions for folks who completely disregard (the rules).”
City officials are expected to analyze what such cities as Costa Mesa, Fullerton and Anaheim have done with face-covering mandates, Sarmiento said.
“We’re certainly not going to go out and find people” not complying with mask requirements, Sarmiento said. “But if they continue to not wear masks in public there could be some sort of sanction.”
Sarmiento said the recent surge in coronavirus cases has produced some “unsettling numbers” of positivity rates of 17% to 18% in the city.
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