County’s COVID-19 compliance unit gets over 1K complaints about rule-breaking businesses

in Community

From mid-October through this past Tuesday, the San Mateo County unit tasked with enforcing COVID-19 health order compliance among businesses had received 1,065 complaints, issued 100 written warnings and cited 22 repeat violators, County officials said. Of the complaints, 72 percent were abated.

Receiving the most complaints were restaurants, including fast food eateries, retail shopping, gym and fitness centers and hair salons and barbershops, the County said.

The County launched the COVID-19 compliance unit to enable members of the public to report businesses that are breaking health order rules.  Those found to be violating the health order are first warned. Subsequent violations can lead to administrative citations with penalties between $250 and $3,000 per instance “depending on the gravity of the health risk, prior warnings, intent to profit from the violation and good faith efforts to comply,” according to the County. Businesses can appeal citations.

“The most common complaints are businesses operating indoors, having a high occupancy, a lack of social distancing and non-wearing of masks by employees and/or customers,” officials said. “The top three locations for businesses receiving complaints are San Mateo, Redwood City and South San Francisco.”

Photo from Oct. 19, showing San Mateo County’s new COVID-19 Compliance Team in training. (Credited to San Mateo County)