face masks

Encinitas Cracks Down on People Who Don't Mask Up

City to employ deputies to encourage and enforce face mask rules

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The City of Encinitas voted this week to crack down on people who don’t mask up.

“I think it’s necessary as a community,” said Dave Swinington as he walked his dog, Wilson.

Encinitas has invested in banners and electronic signs to remind people to wear a mask and keep their distance.

Swinington said he believed in the science behind the masks.

“I think it’s obvious that this is the way this little bug flies around,” he said. “I’m 73-years-old, I’m part of the vulnerable population, I’ve got grandchildren that I want to continue to see for a few years, and I believe the science.”

“This is what we have to do. We’re in this situation. You have to come up with solutions,” said John Fiorello as he walked with his wife, Michele.

One of the solutions unanimously agreed upon by the Encinitas City Council is a $15,000 three-month pilot program where the city will hire San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies to patrol busier parts of town and ask people to wear their masks.

“I welcome that. I think that’s fantastic,” approved Fiorello.

“We have to do what we have to do,” said Raul Villamar outside of his Encinitas Barbershop.

The family-owned and operated business has struggled mightily during the pandemic. Villamar said they’re following all the state-mandated safety protocols, but he wondered about the timing.

“It’s been a little late now,” he said. “Hopefully they’re going to find a cure for this, but this should have started in March.”

A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said, “Education is always the priority. Most of the time, most people will comply once they have been made aware of the violation. Deputies will enforce the orders, which do carry the weight of law, as needed and appropriate. Citations have been and can continue to be issued at the discretion of the responding deputy if needed.”

An Encinitas spokesman said education is the city’s first priority. He said the program will begin next weekend with the busy Labor Day crowds.

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