Supervisors to discuss fines for violators
Opting not to wear a mask or gathering in large groups may soon make your pockets a bit lighter.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss an urgency ordinance for additional remedies for violators of the county health officer orders pertaining to the coronavirus.
The board will receive its standard COVID-19 update from the county Public Health Department, and will also discuss whether to provide peace officers and other public officers with a “tool” to enforce health orders aimed at slowing the spread of the novel virus.
The proposed urgency ordinance “additional enforcement mechanisms to deter violations of County Health Orders, through either infraction citations or administrative fines,” according to the staff report.
The intent of the ordinance is to deal with “those particularly egregious situations and persuasion is deemed ineffective in slowing the virus,” the report continued.
If approved, county health officer orders would be adopted as county law and any violation could result in either an infraction citation or administrative fine.
The fine would be $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation and $500 for each additional violation within one year. The urgency ordinance would remain in effect until the county’s local emergency proclamation is terminated, unless terminated earlier by the board, according to the report.
“Santa Barbara County has been on the State’s County Monitoring List since June 16, 2020 due to its high rate of positive cases, and case numbers in the County continue to climb,” the report reads. “As a result, it is more important than ever to ensure all members of our community are taking steps to protect the health of those most vulnerable, the capacity of the health care system, and the economy.”
On Aug. 12, the county health officer order prohibited all gatherings and closed all indoor operations. The July 23 order required all county residents to wear face coverings when in certain high-risk situations, with some exceptions.
“Most residents are complying with these orders. County employees, however, continue to receive complaints from members of the community about non-compliance. The violations most frequently identified are prohibited gatherings and failure to wear a face covering where appropriate, in spite of repeated requests to do so,” the report reads.
Current enforcement has focused on education and voluntary compliance, with some misdemeanor citations having been issued. The ordinance would serve as “an effective deterrent to violating County Health Officer Orders,” according to the report.
In other business Tuesday, the board will receive a presentation from Vandenberg Air Force Base personnel and representatives from REACH on the current projects underway, as well as the opportunities for economic vitality on the Central Coast.
REACH 2030 is a 10-year action plan for job creation. The priorities include accelerating job growth in target industries, creating world class innovation hubs, breaking down barriers for job creation and preparing residents for current and future jobs. The plan collaborates with industry, government, education institutions and civic organizations, according to the staff report.
REACH has been engaged to promote space innovation and technology through various VAFB projects.
“They will be assessing the current state of VAFB and the surrounding region to determine its ability to support emerging space ecosystem needs,” the staff report reads. “Finally, they will identify opportunities for VAFB to pursue in order to create a strong future for California’s space enterprise. REACH issued a Phase 0 foundational overview report of the VAFB Master Plan that is intended to provide a vision of the future of the base.”
Col. Anthony Mastalir, commander 30th Space Wing of the Space Operations Command, will present the latest US Space Force Plans to enhance the domestic commercial space enterprise, according to the staff report.
Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and will be broadcast live on CSBTV channel 20. Videos of the meeting can also be found on the CSBTV20 YouTube channel.