Santa Barbara Allows Citations But Pushes Education of Mask Wearing
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara City Council is focusing on education and outreach for wearing face masks but approved the use of citations as a last resort.
The council voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to allow Santa Barbara Police officers and downtown ambassadors to cite anyone in "high-risk areas" who are not wearing a face covering. The areas discussed as high-risk are in the newly created pedestrian promenade on State Street, more specifically the crowded 500 block.
The emphasis will be on education with new signs to be placed throughout the city to remind locals and visitors of the Governor's mandatory order of wearing a face mask.
Santa Barbara Transportation Planning and Parking Manager Rob Dayton stated approximately 90% of people were in compliance with the mask order on State Street last weekend from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. In a recently conducted study of people in town not wearing masks, 62% were not aware of the mask order, he said.
Dayton also stated the mandatory six-feet of social distancing isn't happening at restaurants and some have their outdoor parklet reaching too far into the street.
The council has not determined what the cost of the citation will be but discussed it could be similar to a parking ticket.
Although discussions took place over reckless bicyclists on State Street through the promenade, the council did not make a decision whether to cite the cyclists as well.