Residents in Riverside County, California, are now required to wear face coverings and could face a fine of $1,000 per violation per day if the mandate, which went into effect Sunday, is ignored.
Recent data from the Riverside University Health System indicated 946 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus within the county with 25 deaths attributable to the illness.
“While more and more Riverside County residents are getting COVID-19, not everybody’s getting the message,” said Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser in a statement Saturday. “It started with staying home, social distance and covering your face. But now we change from saying that you should
“This is a valid order and enforceable by fine, imprisonment or both,” said Riverside Sheriff Chad Bianco in a Monday video statement. “However, I need to make it perfectly clear to all residents of Riverside County we will not be setting up a police state and this is not a declaration of martial law in Riverside County.”
“While this order does have potential criminal and civil consequences, that is the last thing I want to happen while we deal with this crisis,” Bianco added.
Bianco said he preferred that county residents abide by the facemask mandate voluntarily. No vehicular checkpoints or driver stoppages are planned because a resident is not wearing a facemask.
“We will not be stopping you while you’re on a walk with your kids or while you’re out running or hiking,” Bianco said.
Newsweek reached out to the County of Riverside for comment.