At its recent city council meeting, Dublin adopted an emergency ordinance to impose fines on residents for failure to wear a mask in public.
The violation would be $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third and beyond in a year.
The council voted unanimously Sept. 1 to approve the ordinance, following a staff recommendation.
However, statements from council and staff clarified that the intention of enforcement is to educate the public and encourage compliance. Staff stated that officers will not stop individuals on the street, but they will respond to complaints and staff reports of large unmasked gatherings.
Large gatherings in Dublin parks showcased the increasing problem around mask compliance. Monitors assigned from the city’s parks and community staff have observed as many as 50 unmasked people at the same time.
A staff member described a scenario in which nonresidents held an unmasked baseball game at the Dublin Sports Field, because they “did not want to get caught in their own community.”
On social media, one group said that it had a permit from the city to hold an unmasked event, when, in fact, they did not.
Vice Mayor Arun Goel said he thought a court summons or a booking at Santa Rita would be harsh treatment, as outlined by Police Chief Garrett Holmes as one alternative. But Goel noted a citation would be appropriate.
Councilman Shawn Kumagai said it’s important to let businesses know that the fines are in place.
“We don't want to use it, but we want cooperation for the health of their employees,” Kumagai said. “It’s pretty well known that everyone is supposed to wear masks.”
In Livermore, the city implemented a $100 fine ordinance, but is using the educational approach to gain conformance, said Doug Martin, the city’s inspection manager, who is in charge of the program.
“City employees pass out masks, and people are respectful and use them,” said Martin.
City employees mainly patrol the downtown core and The Outlets.
In Pleasanton, Mayor Jerry Thorne brought up the idea of fines under matters initiated by councilmembers at the Sept. 1 meeting. Councilwoman Julie Testa seconded Thorne’s motion, but there was no support from the other three council members.