On Tuesday, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor Karen Mitchoff proposed the county look at increasing penalties on business who defy the Stay-At-Home Order.
Mitchoff proposed increasing penalties to businesses who blatantly ignore the COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Orders to $10k to $20k which would include a warning or two.
The comments came after she was critical of a gym owner of several franchises who chooses to operate while other gym owners follow the rules. She called it unfair to those who were shutdown and following the State and local order.
She argued some businesses are just paying the $1k and continuing to operate with business as usual and stated “its time to bring the hammer down” and for people to “quit bitching”. She also doesn’t care about the negative comments towards her as she wants to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as vaccines begin to roll out.
She asked her fellow supervisors to consider bringing this back as early as next week so staff can offer a plan of what increased fines and penalties would look like.
Supervisor Diane Burgis stated she was open to the discussion, but was hesitant. She stated consumers should self-regulate and hold businesses accountable for not following the order by not supporting them with shopping at the business if they defy rules.
Supervisor John Gioia called on local code enforcement departments and cities to become better partners on enforcement of COVID-19 health orders.
Supervisor Federal Glover called on high fines would be a way to get businesses to pay attention.
Mitchoff proposed the board look at increasing fines for business who ignore the COVID-19 health order and stay open. The proposal came a week after news broke that the county had fined multiple gyms—fines start at $100 and go up as high as $100. Earlier this year, a Pittsburg bar owner was charged a misdemeanor for operating during COVID.
At last count, the county had been investigating more than 900 complaints about businesses with no masks or those who were operating illegally.
Last week during a press conference, Bay Area Counties announced rather than wait until only 15% of the region ICU beds to be available before a stay-at-home order went into effect, they are shutting down Sunday. The new restrictions will remain in place until January 4, 2021.
Dr. Christopher Farnitano stated they agree with the Governor and they needed to act now and will require many local business to change operations:
- Those who operate indoors must further reduce occupancy to 20% and write and enforce plans to ensure occupancy and face covering rules are followed.
- Personal care services, such as hair cutting and nails must close.
- Restaurants must close outside operations and convert to takeout and delivery only.
- Outdoor wineries and cardrooms must close.
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