San Mateo, Santa Cruz Latest Bay Area Counties To Threaten Fines Over Refusal To Mask Up

Santa Cruz County has been added to the state's watch list as other Bay Area leaders adopt stricter virus measures
Photo credit Rich Fury/Getty Images

San Mateo is the latest Bay Area county to institute a fine for not wearing a mask where they are required.

A unanimous vote Tuesday puts the county in the company of Contra Costa, Napa, Marin and now Santa Cruz counties in creating fines for people caught not covering up their mouth and nose while around others as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

"If you don’t wear your face mask, then you should be fined," San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said in a news release. "This ordinance decriminalizes violations of the health order essentially but at the same time gives us an added tool to enforce compliance of the state’s face covering and social distancing mandates."

Instead of a misdemeanor, San Mateo will instead charge people with infractions. 

It will cost $200 for a second violation and $500 for any violations after that.

Businesses can be fined between $250 and $3,000 per violation.

If you don’t wear your face mask in public or violate any of the state’s COVID-19 health orders, you may now be fined in San Mateo County. Our approach eliminates jail time, reduces violations from a misdemeanor to an infraction and reduces the burden on police. Wear your masks

— David Canepa (@davidcanepa) August 4, 2020

Until last week, San Mateo was the lone Bay Area county not on the state's watch list. Not only was the county added to the list last Wednesday, but it went three consecutive days without improvement in its COVID-19 numbers, triggering further restrictions on certain businesses.