Over the last few weeks, I have been asking, very publicly, that my city enforces the state mask mandate. The order could include fines, but so far the police have been extremely reluctant to issue citations. So I took my one person loud protest to my Mayor’s Facebook page. Why? Health orders, like any other regulation or law, have zero teeth if they are not enforced. And in the midst of a global pandemic, a ticket will be effective.
We continue to act as if this were a game. While we do this, 166 countries, so far, have closed their borders to Americans. Granted, most Americans will not notice since a minority hold valid passports. So not being able to travel will not affect most people’s lives, and we are highly provincial and insular people. So there is little curiosity as to how former hotspots, like oh Italy, are doing. Well, they wear masks. They wash their hands, they continue to social distance, and they have contained the virus. It is to the point that they have mostly opened their economy and mostly gone back to some normalcy.
Like other places, they take this seriously. Most critically, they do not see a health order that will help buy time until a vaccine is found, as a terrible infringement in daily life. In fact, wearing a mask in many parts of the world is not just common sense, but patriotic. They also have a higher trust in experts and less of this my opinion is as valid as yours. They are not yet fully in this post facts dystopian world. They are also better educated. It is a good question how much better, but at least they do listen to instructions better, and there are some hefty tickets for those who don’t follow these basic rules.
Now to tickets in California. Several Southern California cities are issuing tickets already. These are civil liabilities, and tickets seem inversely proportional as to how bad things are. County of San Diego law enforcement is still reluctant to issue these mask related tickets. And partially this is a lack of political will from mayors and county officials, in my view because enforcement will need to happen with people who usually are not policed that much. According to KPBS:
While infections surged throughout June, San Diego Police Department officers issued just three citations and the Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS)…