Archives for posts with tag: Fullerton COVID-19
We don’t have room for face coverings with all of this other equipment.

Matthew Leslie

By the time you read this post I can only hope that the Fullerton Police Department Public Information Officer will have had the wisdom to remove a video Tweeted yesterday from the FPD’s PIO Twitter account depicting FPD’s Bicycle Team riding the trails and interacting with people without a mask in sight. The short clip begins with a (we hope) mock heroic pose on the flagstone steps in Hillcrest Park before cutting a montage of the uniformed cyclist officers riding three abreast on a trail, leaving scant room for any other riders, pedestrians, runners, or equestrians, but that isn’t the troubling part of the video.

During the middle of a pandemic when the city, county, and state are urging everyone to help stop the spread of the coronavirus by wearing a face covering and practicing social distancing of six feet from anyone not in our households, Fullerton’s bicycle mounted officers are shown riding city trails and interacting with people with no social distancing and without any sort of face coverings at all.

Here kid, everything we care about stopping the spread of COVID-19 fits on this card.

At one point, one of the maskless officers actually dismounts and approaches a baby in a stroller, handing the child something from less than two feet away! Are they unaware that nearly a thousand OC residents have died, so far, from COVID-19?? What in the world is the FPD thinking releasing this video? Already reluctant to enforce the statewide mask order, is Fullerton’s Police Department now actively signaling to people not to wear face coverings? Because that’s what it looks like.

Bane

Face coverings are essential during uncertain times.

Matthew Leslie

An important item appears on the agenda for the Fullerton City Council’s April 21 meeting requesting direction to city staff “regarding mandatory face covering guidance within the City of Fullerton” and, potentially, “for essential businesses, employees, customers and residents outside of their residence.” The agenda’s Recommendation section includes an option that the council’s direction could take the form of an “issuance of a Director of Disaster Services proclamation,” suggesting that a decision could be made that evening. One hopes so. With the numbers of people in the city known to be infected by the COVID-19 virus rising daily, an immediate decision critical if such a measure is to be effective. 

To date, four cities in Orange County have passed measures requiring that workers in essential businesses wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The cities of Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Buena Park now each require the wearing of face coverings by workers and patrons in grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, gas stations, and other businesses remaining open during California’s mandated Stay at Home order.  Fullerton has yet to take any such action, despite having met for a special meeting on March 26 and a regularly scheduled one on April 7.

The city issued a press release on April 9 instructing residents to call the Fullerton Police Department to report individuals not complying with the County of Orange’s recommendation “strongly encouraging” the wearing of face coverings, but with no actual requirement in place, one had to wonder how Fullerton police were supposed to respond to such a complaint, other than with their own strong suggestions.

The unfolding patchwork adoption of laws across the county is a result of the failure of the Orange County Board of Supervisors to adopt one that would apply countywide. Although there was some support on the Board for such a measure earlier this month, 4th District Supervisor and Fullerton resident Doug Chaffee, among others, opposed it. The counties of Los Angeles and San Bernardino have both adopted rules requiring face coverings in essential businesses. One wonders why Orange County has dragged its feet, leaving OC’s 34 cities to deal with the problem individually when viruses don’t respect city boundaries.

There is no reasonable way for a significant number of Fullerton residents to avoid close proximity to people who may be carrying the virus, even if they show no signs of it. Shopping in a store, visiting a gas station, picking up medications, among other sometimes unavoidable errands, have become perilous experiences, both for customers and for workers. Though many—increasingly most—shoppers wear face coverings, some still do not. And neither do many in the businesses that serve them, needlessly putting others at risk. Requiring people to keep their faces covered to avoid sharing a sometimes deadly virus is justified, even if some will claim it to be an infringement of their rights.

If we really want to do all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19, we should support requiring people to wear face coverings when they leave their residences too (although the way the report is written, it isn’t clear whether or not it would apply to someone standing in the yard of their own house). Some will consider it a draconian response, but in the midst of a pandemic, the council should at least discuss it. A second wave of infections is a real possibility, even as we’re still experiencing the first.

A city council that takes the unprecedented step to meet virtually from their own residences because it is too dangerous to meet in person shouldn’t consider a face covering requirement in businesses too extreme for everyone else.

And, fear not, the agenda promises that “The City Attorney’s office will opine on legal issues surrounding potential direction as such direction is discussed by the City Council.”

Richard-Jones-2018

City Attorney: Pinin’ to opine…

 

 

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