By Disha Gupta
Authorities in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Monterey have declared that the mask mandate set forth by the California Governor Gavin Newsom will be enforced by citing and fining people who don’t practice the new social norms of the pandemic like social distancing and wearing proper personal protection equipment.
“Beginning this month, we will start issuing Administrative Citations for people who are not conforming to the Order to wear a face cover/mask in public.” said the Captain of West Hollywood Sheriff's Station, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “The fine is $250 and a fee of $50 for a total of $300 for the first offense.” was listed on the Community Bulletin of the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station.
In Santa Monica, the fines are more varied with $100 for not wearing a mask or not keeping at least a 6 feet distance from one another and $250 and $500 for second and third-degree violations respectively. These fines are for the public. For business, on the other hand, the damage is higher. If businesses are caught breaking social distancing rules, including but not limited to having a maximum capacity of customers, they may be fined up to $1,000.
Having set these regulations, California is flexible when it comes to what you use to cover your face. Lane Dilg, Santa Monica’s Interim City Manager said “I encourage everyone to try different styles to find what works for you. But it is a critical time to save lives by wearing face coverings whenever we are outside of our homes and not gathering with people outside of our households.” Even with this flexibility, this mandate has not gone well with the residents of Orange County in the south of California. The former county health officer was threatened for mandating masks and social distancing. In response, the guidance was revised from “required” to “strongly recommended”
Now that COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing again in the majority of the US States because of reopenings, politicians and state officials are following suit. Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, released an order which mandated the residents of "counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with a few exceptions," to wear masks. Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia, after dipping into controversy after releasing plans of reopening the state in late April, has made efforts to redeem himself by “encouraging” residents to wear masks, however still not “requiring” it by law.
Officials in the Trump administration are also mirroring these thoughts. They have started showing muted support even if they’ve paused short of wearing masks themselves. Vice President Mike Pence said “wearing masks is a good idea.” Even President Trump who has been notorious for his refusal to wear masks claimed that he is "all for masks" and that he "thinks masks are good." He also added he would have "no problem" with being seen with a mask on.
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