This One State Is Taking Drastic Measures to Stop COVID Violators
New enforcement efforts are being enacted to help slow surging coronavirus cases.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on, different areas in the country have enacted various preventative measures to try to contain the spread. It started with the lockdowns in March and April and has extended to some states making face masks mandatory, enforcing social distancing, or even putting a quarantine on out-of-state travelers. However, these orders are not all that useful if no one is enforcing them. So, the state of California is taking the next step by creating strike teams to stop COVID violators.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on July 1 that the state would be pulling together strike teams from 10 state agencies to help enforce guidelines the state has enacted to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
"Enforcement is a difficult one. And I'm not naive about that," Newsom said during his announcement. "But that said, we have, I think a responsibility at the same time, to go after people that are thumbing their nose, that are particularly being aggressive, reticent to do anything."
The strike teams have been specifically created to target bars, restaurants, and meatpacking facilities that don't protect customers and workers alike, Newsom said.
Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for California's Office of Emergency Services, which will oversee the teams, told the AP that the agencies will have a central reporting system for complaints from residents, local health officials, or law enforcement so they can single out businesses that have repeated offenses or openly disobey orders.
"The idea here is really to target those who are in open defiance," Ferguson told the AP. "The goal is not to create stress on individual citizens who took their masks down to have a drink of water or forgot it at the gas station."
During the press conference on July 1, Mark Ghilarducci, Office of Emergency Services Director, said the state would initially be focusing the strike teams' enforcement efforts within 19 counties out of the state's 58. These 19 counties, which hold more than 70 percent of the state's population, are the ones with the most coronavirus restrictions—including a recent re-closure of indoor dining and bars—as health officials are most concerned about rising coronavirus numbers in these areas.
This news comes as California's coronavirus numbers peak at all-time highs. The state hit a daily record for new coronavirus cases on June 30 with 8,158, per The New York Times. And for more on different state guidelines, This One State Is Scoring Patients to See Who Will Get COVID Care.