Sonoma County is looking to turn up the heat on people ignoring mask requirements.
The County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting Thursday to discuss potential penalties for mask violators, just as the county met a grim new record. The county had 103 new cases in the previous 24 hours and two more deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
Sonoma County's North Bay neighbors, Marin and Napa Counties, have instituted similar fines this week. The proposals being considered include an expanded education campaign, hotline to report violations and fines.
"Looking at how we can humorously and seriously speak to the community and attempt to change behavior," said County Supervisor Susan Gorin.
The county is considering fines of up to $100 for individuals, and businesses may face fines on a sliding scale starting at $500.
"It could go as high as potentially $10,000 for businesses who absolutely refuse to be compliant," said Gorin.
The board will meet August 6 to finalize the rules, but Gorin said punishments and regulations will only go so far.
"None of this is going to be effective unless we decide as a community, and visitors coming into our community, that we take this seriously."