Another attempt to formally agendize face mask enforcement amid the COVID-19 pandemic as a future council action item fell short at last week's Pleasanton City Council meeting.
Mayor Jerry Thorne and Councilwoman Julie Testa supported agendizing the issue during matters initiated by council on Sept. 15, but no other council members joined to give them a necessary majority.
The subject had been brought forward by the two and failed to gain support during the Sept. 1 council meeting as well. That same evening, the Dublin City Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance to issue fines for residents who fail to wear a face covering in public.
First-time violations for not wearing a mask in public within Dublin city limits are $100, followed by $200 for the second offense and $500 for each subsequent violation thereafter in a year.
Dublin council and city staff said the idea of enforcement is meant to increase public awareness and encourage participation and support. Individuals will not be stopped in Dublin by law enforcement, but complaints and staff reports about large unmasked gatherings will be addressed.
A "Mask Up for Livermore" social media campaign recently launched as well; Livermore was the first Tri-Valley community to adopt a mask ordinance and $100 penalty for not publicly wearing a mask.
Instead of tickets, however, city employees in Livermore have been tasked with handing out masks to people without one, and mostly monitor around downtown and the San Francisco Premium Outlets. No fines for not wearing masks had been issued in Livermore as of Sept. 9, according to officials.
Vice Mayor Kathy Narum along with councilmembers Jerry Pentin and Karla Brown, who are both currently running in the mayoral seat this fall, appeared in a "Mask up, Pleasanton" video produced by the city in July promoting the wearing of face coverings, but said nothing during Thorne and Testa's motion earlier this month.
Nearly a dozen audience members expressed support for mask enforcement during the public comment portion on Sept. 15.
"I feel extremely uncomfortable knowing that our vice mayor and two mayoral candidates, all experienced politicians, do not support a motion that would literally save lives," resident Emma Reddy said, concluding, "We can do more as a city, and more as a council."
Later that evening, before the second agendization request vote, Testa addressed the speakers and said, "I do want those speakers to know that they're being heard."
"I absolutely do believe all of those comments that they have made," Testa said. "I am uncomfortable when I go out and people aren't wearing masks. I hear so much from people in the community, so many people who have said they don't want to go to our wonderful downtown dining right now because they feel that there's too many people."