City Council will require masks

Father Serra was wearing a face mask before it was the law.

On a 4-3 vote the City Council will require masks to be worn inside businesses and government offices, on public transit and in most indoor venues that are open to the public. This order will go into effect once the City Council approves the final ordinance which will be considered at a future meeting.

The city manager will need to draft an emergency ordinance to lay out the details of the new order. It will be modeled on a similar order in Santa Barbara.

Councilmember Erik Nasarenko stated “masks have become such a common feature that I don’t even think people question it anymore. Ultimately it’s not about discomfort or inconvenience, it’s about doing whatever we can in whatever way possible to limit the spread of a highly infectious and deadly disease and if that means wearing a face covering, I think we should do it.”

Nasarenko, along with Councilmembers Cheryl Heitmann, Sofia Rubalcava and Christy Weir voted in support of the order. Mayor Matt LaVere, Lorrie Brown and Jim Friedman voted no.

Brown and Friedman voted no because they question the city’s ability to enforce the use of face coverings in businesses.

Police Chief Darin Schindler said enforcement of the policy would not be a priority for the department.

“I would obviously put communication in front of enforcement. I just don’t think it’s a viable option right now to expect us to contact people for purposes of enforcing them wearing a mask. It’s going to put our officers in a difficult situation especially with the current climate surrounding the use of police authority right now.”

Violations of the mask order would be handled through the city’s emergency action citation process, the same way that violations of other pandemic-related health orders are handled. Ventura plans to focus on education to try to obtain voluntary compliance from the public. But if that doesn’t work, a written warning may be issued, followed by an administrative citation.

So, basically this is just symbolic.

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