Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to impose fines on people and businesses who violate COVID-19 public heath orders. The urgency ordinance is immediately effective.
County supervisors and officials stressed an education-first approach that provides ample warning before administrative fines are issued to violators.
For non-commercial activities that violate the health order, the fines are $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation and $500 for each additional violation within one year of the initial violation, according to the ordinance.
For commercial activities that violate the health order, the fine is $250 for a first violation, $500 for a second violation, and $1,000 for each additional violation within one year of the initial violation.
“If a violation continues for more than one day, each day is a separate violation,” the county said.
The ordinance allows not just the county but also cities and special districts to issue fines. Alleged violators could be handed a Notice of Violation, which gives a person or business up to two days to correct a violation, or Notice of Fine, which can be paid or appealed.
On July 14, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to prepare the ordinance after determining that fines are “necessary to augment the ability of the county and other local agencies to ensure compliance with public health orders and combat the spread of COVID-19.”
In addition to administrative fines, failing to comply with the public health order could also be punishable by a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both. The addition of administrative fines is considered another tool in the toolbox to gain compliance, county officials said.