San Mateo County supervisor wants to fine face mask scofflaws

A projection from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that around 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths by October 1st, but the study also found that number would drop by 33,000 people if 95% of people wore face coverings.

“It calls for concerted action including much more positive efforts by individuals to wear masks whenever they’re outside their home,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

While face masks are already required outdoors for those unable properly distance, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa has sent a letter urging Governor Gavin Newsom to take the effort to slow the spread of COVID19 one step further.

“What I’m seeing out there is that people aren’t taking the virus seriously and this is serious. This is life or death,” Canepa said.

The proposal calls for a warning for a first offense, $100 for a second violation, and $500 thereafter.

Canepa said to remove the issue of placing the additional responsibility on police officers, the fines would be issued by community service officers.


Residents tell us the intention is good, but are on the fence about the fine.

“I think enforcing the fee on people for not wearing masks… um, it’s a little aggressive,” said Kanitha Matoury of Oakland.

A recent Pew Research Center study found around 65-percent of Americans say they wear masks, but the number falls short of the 95% that the UofW study found was needed to save tens of thousands of lives.

While new COVID19 cases in the Bay Area remain stable for now, the state did set a single-day record Tuesday with more than 7,000 positive results, mostly in Southern California.


Supervisor Canepa believes his proposal would go a long way in bringing down the number of new transmissions.

“People may say that this is a bit of a stretch. What I say that’s a bit of a stretch is that the people who are hospitalized and the people that are going to potentially die because of our irresponsibility,” said Canepa.

Supervisor Canepa said that if the governor does not support his plan, he’ll introduce it to the San Mateo board of supervisors.