Officials in Hoboken, New Jersey, are considering a citywide ordinance to fine residents $250 if they don’t wear a mask outdoors.
Hoboken City Councilman Phil Cohen said the city has been keeping an eye on mask usage in public spaces, but in some spots, like popular shopping districts, some people aren’t wearing them. “A lot of visitors on Washington Street, a lot of visitors on the waterfront are just not complying,” Cohen told CBS-2 in New York.
The outdoor masks wouldn’t apply everywhere and there would be warnings before fines.
“Mimicking Governor Phil Murphy’s mask mandate, this wouldn’t apply in situations such as sitting in a park with family, working out or outdoor dining, as long as you keep away from others. But, when you’re walking down the street, you can’t guarantee it. Cohen said education and warning would come before summonses are handed out,” the station reported.
“I think once people start getting warnings, realizing there are financial consequences to not wearing a mask, that compliance will increase, and that really is the goal here,” Cohen said.
Some cities are considering extreme measures to enforce mask ordinances. A Nashville councilwoman, for example, wants anyone who doesn’t wear a mask to be “tried for murder or attempted murder.”
“My question goes back to legislation,” Sharon Hurt, an at-large councilwoman of the Nashville Metro Council, said during a meeting last week, The Tennessee Star reported. “But my concern is — you know I work for an organization, that if they pass a virus, then they are tried for murder or attempted murder, if they are not told … and this person who may very well pass this virus that’s out in the air because they’re not wearing a mask is basically doing the same thing to someone who contracts it and dies from it.”
“It seems to me that we have been more reactive, as opposed to proactive, and a little too late, too little,” she said. “Maybe there needs to be stronger legislation to say that if you do not wear a mask and you subject exposure of this virus to someone else then there will be some stronger penalty as it is in other viruses that are exposed.”
Late last month, officials in Miami-Dade County announced it would start issuing $100 fines to people for not wearing masks in public. That led to a piece in the Miami Herald headlined, “No one is safe from Miami-Dade’s new $100 no-mask fine. Not even people wearing masks.”
“On July 17, Johanna Gianni said she had just finished shopping at a Publix in North Miami Beach and was walking back to her car when she took off the face mask she had worn inside the store. Almost immediately, a police officer came up to her and told her she was getting a ticket for not wearing a mask in a public space,” The Herald reported. “Despite showing the officer she had a mask in her hand, Gianni still got the citation. She says it felt like a set-up to catch shoppers after they followed the rules where it really mattered, inside the grocery. The parking lot was nearly empty, she said, and no one was around her when she took the mask off.”
Dean Gonzalez said he was wearing his face mask when he stopped at a North Miami Beach supermarket, but he received a $110 citation anyway. “He said there were police officers who were not wearing their uniforms waiting for people outside. Gonzalez recorded a video of his interaction with police officers,” LOCAL10-TV reported. “It was like a trap,” Gonzalez said. “It was a mask trap.”
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