Santa Ana Officials Enact Their Own Mandatory Mask Order as Coronavirus Crisis WorsensVoice of OC

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Masks are mandatory for Californians up and down the state, as more and more people get sick with the novel Coronavirus and show up in hospitals.

But elected officials in Santa Ana, overseeing a city full of working-class residents who live in densely crowded areas and have no option but to work in public settings and risk exposure, are making that message more clear for locals.

City Council members at their Tuesday meeting unanimously agreed on enacting a local, mandatory mask order.

Its specific guidelines and provisions are expected to become clearer when it’s signed by the City Manager and released to the public either on Wednesday or later in the week. 

But there’s uncertainty over whether it will differ from state law in terms of its effectiveness in getting more people to mask up — in a city that some argue desperately needs these rules cemented locally.

And the term “mandatory” has been called into question when law enforcement agencies up and down the state, and in Orange County, continue to push back on punitive enforcement of the mask law — advocating instead for voluntary compliance.

And that was a message echoed by Santa Ana officials on Wednesday morning, after the council vote.

City spokesman Paul Eakins said the city has thus far tried to avoid punitive action in favor of education and voluntary compliance when it comes to people not abiding by public health orders aimed at stemming the virus’ spread:

“The new order will identify what specific consequences there could be — but it isn’t necessarily saying police should be out cracking down with fines. There are — there could be — consequences, if they refuse to abide by the rule. But we don’t want to do that.”

“Having the local order sends a clear message to people that this is a high priority for the City of Santa Ana,” he said, adding specific provisions of the mask order will become clear when it’s signed and released to the public.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have surged over the recent winter months in Orange County. 

Especially in Santa Ana.



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