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Santa Clara County considers fines for COVID-19 health code violations

Original post made on Aug 7, 2020

Neglecting to wear a mask in public or failing to socially distance could soon carry a hefty fine of up to $500 in Santa Clara County, according to a new proposal cracking down on those who violate COVID-19 public health orders.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 6, 2020, 8:43 PM

Comments (27)

215 people like this
Posted by Groot
a resident of Willowgate
on Aug 7, 2020 at 12:56 am

Groot is a registered user.

Some Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors are just drunk with power.

COVID-1984 totalitarianism must be stopped. Mountain View residents are not halfwit peons. We are sensible adults and are capable of making common sense decisions all by ourselves.

And that includes paying more attention to who we vote for in November.


18 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 7, 2020 at 3:58 am

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

I AM GROOT

Its about time.

I have over 2 dozen pictures of people not wearing masks or facial coverings in public spaces.

These people are the reason why COVID is spreading at this time. There are no protests occurring and yet the infections are increasing.

These people are costing us millions of dollars of economic damage as well. But more importantly they are a danger to us all. Even Dr. Fauci is on the record saying so.

This is NOT totalitarianism, it is simply what is necessary to get COVID under control.

If you want to open up the businesses again, GET EVERYONE TO WEAR THEIR FACIAL COVERING.

The reality is that Walmart, Target, Safeway, Nob Hill are not designed with air filtration or sterilization, the air in those buildings should be EXPECTED to be contaminated with COVID.

And these fools want to walk around being COVID Mary's and Mark's. They are more dangerous than COVID itself, look at the facts regarding what happened, we had control and now we don't.


10 people like this
Posted by Sloane P.
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2020 at 2:18 pm

Sloane P. is a registered user.

Kevin can you include more specificity about precisely when a mask violation will occur? Do you need to wear one walking your dog around the block outdoors? Or does this just apply to indoor spaces? The link you provided doesn't go into much detail about that. Thanks.


153 people like this
Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

This seems like a GREAT idea! The county can deputize folks to go around with measuring devices and record videos. I'd call that group the Careful And Resourceful Evaluation Neighbors: CARENs.

Just kidding. This is a horrible idea and completely unenforceable overreach.


7 people like this
Posted by ronewolf
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 7, 2020 at 3:05 pm

ronewolf is a registered user.

So in the county that has done a leadership job of behaving well & keeping contagion under control, somehow County leadership thinks that suggesting to fine those who don’t comply is a good move? Plus the continued failure to distinguish between the need for masks in public indoor spaces versus non-crowded outdoor spaces is a failure of messaging and creates confusion and paranoia. To the other posters point, threatening a fine for walking one’s dog around the block? Come on, get real. Besides which, County Leadership, you can’t seem to get your act together regarding testing and reporting, how about if you step up to that? Tracking cases and knowing the level of active contagion in our communities is at least as necessary as mask wearing.


17 people like this
Posted by Great Move!
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 7, 2020 at 3:14 pm

Great Move! is a registered user.

If we want to move forward with openings (schools, businesses, etc), we must drop the rate of transmission. At this point, most transmission is "community transmission", from gatherings, unknown sources, etc. If we want a different result, we need to try something different.

Simply creating the threat/possibility of a fine will probably bring at least 50% of the non-compliance in line.

Those who object likely aren't wearing masks. As for a "grace period", what are we in now? The requirement to wear masks has existed for quite some time.

PS - This would also be consistent with other Bay Area counties, particularly San Mateo...which is important in not confusing residents.


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 7, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

I'd agree with this. But I hope it is amended two ways: make it match exactly the structure now set for San Mateo Co., which I understand is $100 to start, and has reported no "discretion". Come on - you all know how likely it is that "discretion" will be used - blacks on the street in Los Altos, Palo Alto, and Mountain View will be stopped and 'given the $100 ticket (infraction)' (they Bad)
- But cute white girls? Matronly white ladies? Surely you jest.

Pandemics are not class/race conscious, and the 'general stupidity' (?) of people in our society, when it come to 'the civic good, the common good' often falters. Let the Mandatory Infractions begin.

formerly progressive registered Republican


6 people like this
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 7, 2020 at 3:59 pm

Rodger is a registered user.

I think the ruling says when you are in public you are required to wear a mask, if not this must be required. When my wife and I go for a walk about 80% are not following the requirements. The people who ARE wearing masks also will make sure to keep a distance away. For some reason runners will run right by you with no mask huffing and puffing as they go by. Everyone needs to be concerned about everyone else. The person you contaminate might die or become seriously ill and never really recover.
This is not a political thing it’s a human thing


10 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Observer is a registered user.

Last evening, there was an older gentleman (~60yrs young-70ish maybe?) peering into store front windows (any business with an open door), carrying a spiral bound notebook, taking notes while wandering up Castro Street in Mountain View. Seriously dude, stay home and stay safe. Sara Cody has your back, Gavin has his strike teams, you are part of the problem. If you go looking for a problem, you'll find one, you may be exposing yourself to sickness. Gavin says people of your age should SIP. Are you listening?

I was having a substantial meal (as ordered by Sara Cody) outside a local restaurant. I felt very uncomfortable:) by your presence.

PS. not tbm btw.


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Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 7, 2020 at 5:18 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

So many of the businesses say "don't worry we got this." when they promised to protect the public regarding outdoor dining.

But when it comes to being accountable they say "whisky tango foxtrot, you can't do that to us, you guys are responsible for keeping us safe."

That is the modis operandi of all business, promise people things they cannot achieve, and when they fail, blame someon else for their failures, or simply quit operations and declare bankruptcy.

Yes many counties around us are doing the same thing, what makes Santa Clara special?

This can be a justified means of increasing revenues to the county for failing to protect the public health.

Right?


15 people like this
Posted by GS
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Aug 7, 2020 at 11:45 pm

GS is a registered user.

This is patently false and misleading:

Web Link
"Face coverings: Everyone must comply with the Face Covering Guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health, which requires most people to wear a face covering most of the time whenever they leave home."

The statement below is easily deemed unenforceable as when are two people "maintaining"(exactly) 6 feet of separation.

Guidance-for-Face-Coverings_06-18-2020.pdf
"People in California must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations listed below:
...While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of
6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or
residence is not feasible.

This is also from Guidance-for-Face-Coverings_06-18-2020(2).pdf

The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering:
Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming,
walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household
members, and when they are able to maintain a distance of at least six
feet from others."

The statement above is easily practiced by 'walking' (anywhere) and keeping at least 6 feet of distance. In other words, you only have to wear a mask when you are at a place of business or inside public places or within 6 feet of NON-members of the person’s own household or residence.


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Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2020 at 12:44 am

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

GS,

Anyone trying to find loopholes in the order are simply opening up more potential infections.

I know it is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but if one of those members get infected, the entire household will be likely infected.

Your making an argument that is contrary to the wishes of those who SHOULD love each other and want to protect them.

Go ahead and prolong the COVID crisis and make it worse, it is your choice.


5 people like this
Posted by GS
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Aug 8, 2020 at 1:20 am

GS is a registered user.

@Steven - I do wear a face mask with what *I think* their intentions are. But really, I'm left to guessing what they mean. The problem is that if the legal county order is poorly written, unclear and was obviously not reviewed, how do they expect the public to follow it as well as the police and the courts to interpret and enforce it?


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Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2020 at 7:01 am

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

@GS,

I agree that the "guidelines" are poorly written, they should have been "requirements" and they should have made it much more clear. BUT that does not mean that the police nor the courts are going to have any problems enforcing the fines.

Santa Clara County is bending over backwards to give the least cost possible to those who violate mask guidelines. Given the corruption identified in the Sheriffs office, you shouldn't be surprised.

The fact is that the SCC DPH has been restrained by the County Supervisors as much as they can short of getting the public enraged for interference.

The other counties are able to fine as much as $1000 per violation for habitual offenders.

So far no closures have been considered for violations, that should be a consideration.


15 people like this
Posted by Joel Lachter
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 8, 2020 at 2:22 pm

Joel Lachter is a registered user.

It is too bad that this issue has become so politicized. You have one group insisting on their right to hang out at Walmart without a mask and another group that expects you to be wearing a mask outside on your own porch. As far as I can tell, the first situation is much more risky than the second. Most guidance recognizes this, yet only using vague language. I agree that there needs to be some enforcement; the cashier in the 7-11 I went to last week that was serving people without a mask is a real problem. At the same time, walking around the Wagon Wheel neighborhood it is pretty easy to keep 10-12 feet from anyone you see. Threatening to fine people who are outside and a good distance from anyone, just lends credence to the people who say this has nothing to do with public health. I hope we can develop some narrowly targeted enforcement measures with clear rules.


4 people like this
Posted by Justin Case
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2020 at 11:04 am

Justin Case is a registered user.

>"can you include more specificity about precisely when a mask violation will occur? Do you need to wear one walking your dog around the block outdoors? Or does this just apply to indoor spaces? "

^ Simple solution...commercial businesses should require customers to wear face masks or risk a fine (reportable & verified by other patrons with a cellphone camera). Done deal.

As for walking the dog outdoors, as long as safe distancing protocols are being practiced, no need for any fines.


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 10, 2020 at 9:10 am

Gary is a registered user.

Looking quickly over the draft ordinance linked in the article, it needs work. The proposed ordinance would make the violation of a health department order a crime subject to arrest. Orders might change day-to-day. The grace period option for enforcement officers only would apply to businesses. Responsible parties is too broadly defined if the plan is to hold them responsible. I am all for wearing a mask in buildings open to the public and outdoors when social distancing becomes impossible. But a criminal law must be clearly defined so people know exactly when a mask is required - and it should NOT be at all times or all places or subject to change by administrative orders day-to-day. What the BOARD OF SUPERVISORS should work on is extending the countywide eviction moratorium for RESIDENTIAL TENANTS who really cannot afford to pay the rent.


3 people like this
Posted by Justin Case
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2020 at 9:40 am

Justin Case is a registered user.

All things considered, face mask violations will be subject to police intervention. Do the police really want to get involved with enforcing such protocols via the issuance of face mask citations & fines?

Covid-19 is a public health issue/concern that has also become political in nature. It calls for personal responsibility which is often overlooked or disregarded by the reckless and/or recalcitrant.

An example...with the AIDS/HIV epidemic (which is still ongoing & uncured), male homosexuals
are advised to practice 'safe sex'...some do & some don't as per their preferences.

Wearing a face mask to many people is also a preferable or non-preferable option despite the threat of spreading a currently incurable disease.

Where does the government intervene in these matters and what is it's latitude in regards to establishing crime & punishment?

As aforementioned, it will be up to the commercial businesses to enforce such safety measures on its patrons as busting people en masse outdoors will further raise the ire of those who do not believe in wearing face masks, SIP recommendations/mandates or the disease itself.

Houston...we have a problem.


11 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 10, 2020 at 10:02 am

Gary is a registered user.

Unlike HIV which spreads through activities that can be avoided, coronavirus carriers endanger others just by exhaling. So mandating masks in certain situations can be justified - but laws must be narrowly and clearly written. We do not need "enforcement officers" arresting or citing people based on the latest health department order not even known to the public. The Board of Supervisors should consider a law to better control businesses like Costco that place customers and others at risk. Then, move on to the eviction moratorium I reference above.


6 people like this
Posted by Justin Case
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2020 at 11:16 am

Justin Case is a registered user.

An afterthought....this facemask issue is beginning to remind me of when the CA DMV mandate requiring that motorcycle helmets be worn.

The Harley crowd as depicted by many of those pseudo outlaws attending the current Sturgess rally (sans face masks) fought this vehicle code tooth & nail opting to wear minimalist 'brain buckets' to assert their contrived sense of renegade individuality.

BMW & Ducatti owners had no issue as wearing protective helmets are in integral part of their ridership.

BTW...Covid-19 positive cases are up in South Dakota and soon these biker 'outlaws' & their old ladies will be returning home to spread the virus even further

Stupid is as stupid does and the 'Born To Be Wild' Harley crowd exemplify this mentality.


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Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 10, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

In response to Gary, those that put the public at higher risk of infection MUST be accountable, if this means fines so be it. I would also argue that those without masks must be taken, tested and quarantined until such test prove negative for COVID. Given that it should be assumed that all are infected until proven otherwise.

This is not arrest, but a public health act as defined under the CDC. There is a page which describes this found here (Web Link) This authority is defined as:

“How does the CDC determine if someone should be apprehended?

Before issuing a quarantine or isolation order, CDC conducts a public health risk assessment that takes into account symptoms and possible exposures.

CDC may apprehend, detain, examine, or conditionally release an individual if it reasonably believes that he/she may be infected with or exposed to a quarantinable communicable disease.

The final rule defines reasonable belief as the existence of “specific articulable facts upon which a public health officer could reasonably draw the inference that an individual has been exposed, either directly or indirectly, to the infectious agent that causes a quarantinable communicable disease, as through contact with an infected person or an infected person’s bodily fluids, a contaminated environment, or through an intermediate host or vector, and that as a consequence of the exposure, the individual is or may be harboring in the body the infectious agent of that quarantinable communicable disease.”

Also

“How long can someone be apprehended and detained?

Under the final rule, CDC must serve an individual with a federal order for quarantine, isolation, or conditional release within 72 hours after taking that person into custody. CDC notes that historically, the issuance of federal orders is rare (i.e. 1 to 2 orders issued per year).

Isolation would last for the period of communicability of the illness, which varies by disease and the availability of specific treatment. Quarantine lasts only as long as necessary to protect the public by (1) providing public health care (such as voluntary immunization or drug treatment, as required) and (2) ensuring that quarantined persons do not infect others if they have been exposed to a contagious disease.”

Finally:

Are the public health measures described in the final rule effective?

Yes, the final rule is consistent with scientific principles and best practices of modern isolation and quarantine. Modern isolation and quarantine lasts only as long as necessary to protect the public by (1) providing a public health intervention (such as voluntary testing or drug treatment, as appropriate and with the informed consent of the patient) and (2) ensuring that persons under isolation and quarantine do not infect others if they have been exposed to or are capable of spreading a quarantinable communicable disease.”

Given COVID is air transmissible and anyone going anywhere that has a reasonable risk of being infected, like a grocery store, etc, means that it is reasonable to assume they have been exposed and are a viable carrier. In effect the individual will have to prove they are not infected or exposed to COVID to a reasonable degree, which may mean a record of a test done withing say 24 hours

WE HAVE TO INSURE THE PUBLIC HEALTH, IT IS TIME THAT THESE PEOPLE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY OF THEIR ACTIONS


4 people like this
Posted by Justin Case
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2020 at 7:50 am

Justin Case is a registered user.

>"...those without masks must be taken, tested and quarantined until such test prove negative for COVID. Given that it should be assumed that all are infected until proven otherwise."

^ WHERE would you suggest quarantining these individuals?

A CDC or court-ordered SIP at home quarantine mandate probably wouldn't work as many of the recalcitrants refusing to wear face masks in public are of the libertarian and/or evangelical mentalities who strongly believe that their constitutional and/or god-given rights are being violated.

An enforced quarantine in their respective churches or at an abandoned warehouse somewhere in the sticks?

Chances are these types will refuse to adhere to anything they feel is a hindrance to their everyday lives.

Maybe ankle bracelets or confinement to a 'tent city' somewhere?

Back in the old days, lepers (as well as suspected lepers) were separated from the general public.


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Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2020 at 5:16 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

Where can individuals be quarantined?

They can be put on house quarantine at home, or we could take over the hotels in the area and place them in there. But do not expect to be given the services of the hotel, it will simply be shelter and the provision of food.

The reality it seems is that you know this may be necessary to control COVID.

As soon as they are tested negative they are free to go, but if they test positive they remain quarantined until either cure or hospitalization.

They are not lepers, but COVID Marks and Marys, and thus are required to be put under control.


1 person likes this
Posted by JS
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Aug 11, 2020 at 5:37 pm

JS is a registered user.

@Steven Goldstein. You're belief is not reality. Your idea will work as good as house locks and gun control with keeping guns from convicted felons and gang members. The laws keep honest people honest. Unfortunately that technique doesn't work for the dishonest.


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Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

We are talking about a disease, not gangs or guns.

This is not a criminal process, a public health one.

In effect gangs or crimes are not related to a public health act. In fact no courts are involved here. Nor any criminal prosecution or offenses, just the protection of the public health.

Why did you bring this up?

We may need the national guard to enforce quarantines that's all.


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Posted by Justin Case
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2020 at 6:32 pm

Justin Case is a registered user.

>"We may need the national guard to enforce quarantines that's all."

^ That measure equates to a police state.

And if we are going to run with that concept, why not just round-up all of the Covid-19 'positives' and shelter them off-site?

> "They are not lepers, but COVID Marks and Marys, and thus are required to be put under control."

^ Which means they should be treated as such...pending medical clearance.


Like this comment
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2020 at 7:18 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

Yes,

remember TYPHOID MARY

She was the source of many Typhoid cases, granted it was necessary to quarantine her to prevent spread. It is a cruel process, but what other process do we have?

So the same are for COVID MARY and MARKS.

This is the only way to control COVID at this time, if not house quarantine.

Once all infected run their course, and can be proven safe, then we can get back to normal. As long as the virus doesn't mutate.


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