San Bernardino Clarifies Use of Masks and Religious Services


Officials in San Bernardino County issued a clarification of its recent face mask order, saying the sheriff's department doesn't plan to punish violators of the order.

“We recognize the need to act quickly to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “But we also recognize that we must take into consideration the myriad of impacts that can be felt in a large and diverse county, and be willing to provide clarification and make adjustments while keeping our communities safe and healthy.”

Officials also stated that churches that are organizing drive-in religious services should go ahead and proceed with their those services "if they choose to do so." The county urged those churches to make every effort "to prevent contact between congregants."

The order on the use of face masks was also clarified by officials, saying that drivers traveling alone or with family members do not need to wear a face covering unless they need to lower their window to interact with first responders, food service workers, or anyone else who is not a member of their household.

The county's Acting Health Officer ordered county residents to cover their face when they are in public on Tuesday as part of the effort to curb the spread of the disease. Technically, residents could be fined up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to 90 days, or both, but the sheriff's department has no plans to punish violators or broadly issue citations.

"The expectation is that law enforcement will rely upon community members to use good judgment, common sense, and act in the best interests of their own health and the health of their loved ones and the community at large," the statement says. "The imposition of penalties on members of the public who willfully and grossly disregard public health orders by putting others at risk of exposure to this infectious disease is meant as a tool for law enforcement to use as a deterrent."

So far, San Bernardino has reported at least 547 cases of COVID-19 and at least 17 deaths.

Photo: Getty Images

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