Supervisors Advance Plan to Fine Coronavirus Rule-Breakers

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In a virtual meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Thursday, members agreed to move forward with a plan to slap fines on individuals and businesses that break the county’s coronavirus health rules.

The move comes as the county, along with others across California, is experiencing a surge of new COVID-19 Ccases and hospitalizations.

Although the plan won’t be rolled out until August 6th, the fines discussed for individuals would be a flat $100 for non-compliance with requirements like face-coverings, while businesses may face a sliding scale starting at $500-1000, and reaching $10 thousand for the worst offenders.

Several other neighboring counties have recently imposed fines to force compliance with face-covering and other health rules including Marin where a similar ordinance went into force on Tuesday.

All of the other ordinances use discretion to determine how large the fine will be, ranging up to a maximum of $500 for individuals and $10 thousand for businesses.

For their part, Sonoma County Supervisors agreed that imposing fines is fully justified for non compliance with health rules given the danger posed to the public.  But they also agreed that an aggressive public relations and marketing push should also be part of the plan, one that stresses voluntary compliance first.

And supervisor Linda Hopkins suggested forming a strike team of county workers who would offer masks and perks like coupons and other items of value to reward compliance.  The approach would offer positive incentives in addition to the threat of fines.



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