The warnings are over. San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies are now taking action against people who violate California’s stay-at-home order.
Deputies who patrol Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas have written tickets to more than 39 people for violating the public health order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The penalty is up to 6-months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
“I get it,” said Sarah Mathews of Cardiff, but that doesn’t mean she likes it.
Mathews was out walking with her 2-year-old son, Jordy, who zipped around on his scooter.
“He’s 2 years old. We’ve gotta get outside,” she said.
But there are now fewer places to do that. Beaches and parks are closed and Mathews doesn’t have a yard for Jordy to play in.
Mathews told NBC 7 she wishes deputies could issue warnings for those who violate the stay-at-home order, but understands why they can’t.
“It’s a pickle for sure,” said Mathews. “You want people to enjoy their lives and everything but if we’re gonna really get a good hold on all of this we also need to enforce the laws for people that aren’t staying home.”
Aya Nokura is a laid-off healthcare worker. She wishes people would use common sense to avoid spreading the coronavirus but thinks the Sheriff’s actions are heavy-handed.
“I think that’s too much,” she said adding that she saw deputies ticket a man who was sitting on the beach all by himself, not bothering anyone.
“They give him a ticket and then they are releasing inmates from the jail…That doesn’t make any sense," she said.
A man who did not want to be identified said “social distancing is an absolute must” to fight the coronavirus but, “I thought it was very interesting that they (sheriff’s deputies) chose to ticket people watching the sunset, sitting in their cars.”
He said the tickets are an “over-reaction”.
“I don’t feel its heavy-handed because we gave people time to adjust their behaviors,” said Lt. John Boyce, of the Sheriff’s North Coastal Division.
Boyce told NBC 7 it's OK for people to take walks near their home while maintaining social distancing.
“What we’re trying to prevent is people congregating in a specific area, or people traveling without essential needs and spreading this virus," Boyce said.
The fine for violating the public stay-at-home order is up to 6-months in jail, and/or a $1,000 fine.