Del Mar steps up enforcement of mask mandate

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DEL MAR — The City of Del Mar is stepping up enforcement when it comes to wearing masks.

The city beach was packed Sunday afternoon, with people and signs about the new program the city launched this weekend.

It hired part-time sheriff’s deputies to work two days a week enforcing the county’s public health order with an emphasis on face coverings.

The city said deputies will focus on education first, letting people know they’re required to wear a mask when they go outside.

After that, if you’re caught outside without a mask, you could be cited with a misdemeanor, fined up to $1,000 or spend up to 90 days in jail, according to the city. Some people find it a little too much to ask right now.

“Honestly, we’re in a heat wave right now. Not exactly looking for another place or reason to wear a mask,” one beachgoer named Katie said.

Other families said they believe the new enforcement measures are necessary.

“I think it’s a good thing honestly,” Neel Agnihotri said. “There needs to be some type of law enforcement pressure to make sure people are wearing their mask.”

Susan Bergan, a San Diego resident, believes masks should be worn. She said if it takes enforcement, that’s fine with her. Her husband disagrees.

“I think that’s really harsh,” Russ Bergan said. “I don’t really agree on that like my wife.”

The city said deputies will be patrolling the beach, Seagrove and Powerhouse parks, the civic center and other areas with high foot traffic.

Some people said Sunday even with harsh penalties, they won’t be motivated to wear a mask.

“Unless I’m explicitly told by an officer to have a mask on while I’m out in the open air, UV light. No,” Katie said.

No citations were given out this weekend, city staff said.

Click here to read what the city had to say about the new mask education and enforcement program.

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