As the fight to slow the spread and protect others from COVID-19 continues, one East Bay city will consider stricter enforcement of the public health orders.
The Berkeley City Council on Tuesday is expected to vote on a proposed $100 fine for those in violation of the mask-wearing and social distancing ordinances.
One of the city’s biggest concerns is thousands of college students returning for UC Berkeley’s fall semester. The university decided earlier in the summer to offer fully remote instruction, but it has left open the option of some in-person classes, and campus housing still is being offered for single occupancy, according to the university website.
The Berkeley council meeting comes as students at Cal have documented those not doing their part to slow the spread and stay safe on campus. Some students have recorded classmates heading to parties in large groups. One student has gone as far as creating an Instagram account to document the behavior.
The proposed urgency ordinance would address those violations, with a $100 fine for not wearing a mask or not practicing social distancing. The fine would increase for repeat violators.
One Cal student says she frequently sees classmates not taking the pandemic seriously.
“Not a lot of masks, big groups of people. You can just see that people are walking into fraternity houses,” student Rebecca Smith said.
The city of Berkeley is reporting seven COVID-19 cases a day.
A UC Berkeley spokesperson says so far this semester, there have been 24 reports of COVID-related violations, allegedly happening on-campus and off-campus.
Other municipalities such as Napa, Sonoma and Contra Costa counties already approved similar fines for people not following health orders.