National City is taking a recommendation from the county's Public Health Order one step further by requiring everyone in public to wear facial coverings.
The order went into effect at 12 a.m. Wednesday.
The city announced the requirement Tuesday night on its COVID-19 response web page but didn't provide details on how it will be enforced, or if there will be a grace period before citizens are penalized.
City Councilmember Ron Morrison said disobeying the order is a ticketable offense, but said at this time police won't be strictly enforcing the requirement, adding the emergency ordinance was put in place to make it easier for businesses to require customers to wear coverings.
Locals said they agree with the measure and that it will help keep residents safe. One woman whose young daughter has special needs and is considered at-risk said she's grateful for the order.
“You see people coughing all the time. Even with us, wearing our masks, there’s always somebody around that doesn’t have it that’s doing stuff, touching their face," Reynah Nilberg told NBC 7. "I don’t think that they’re going overboard. I think it’s great that they’re enforcing it.”
Another South Bay resident agreed with the order.
“I mean, it’s not really that hard to follow," a man named Daniel told NBC 7. "It’s a mask, that’s all it is. It’s not a big deal. It’s very much worth it.”
Business were already allowed, per the county's order, to require facial coverings for customers.
If citizens neglect the order, enforcement may increase, Morrison said.
As of April 14, San Diego County requires employees of some essential businesses (retail stores, gas stations, restaurants, pharmacies) to wear coverings, and strongly encourages citizens to wear them in public. Individual cities have the authority to issue orders that are, in some cases, more strict than the county's but not less strict, according to Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
Morrison said the city is looking into how masks can be distributed to those who don’t have access or can’t afford them.
National City is the first municipality within the county to require facial coverings for everyone.