CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- Chula Vista is requiring its residents to wear face coverings when out in public as the South Bay region tries to curb a rise in coronavirus cases.
The mayors of Chula Vista, National City, and Imperial Beach addressed their respective city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at a Thursday afternoon news conference.
Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said the wearing of face coverings would be mandatory in her city when in public settings. Salas said the covering does not have to be a mask; it can be a scarf, bandana, or T-shirt, as long as it covers the nose and mouth.
“Everyone who enters a business must have a facial covering,” Salas said.
The city's requirement applies to those entering essential businesses such as banks, grocery stores, gas stations. The order also means those standing in line to enter essential businesses must also don facial coverings.
The city also said, “It also is highly recommended to wear a face covering anytime outside of the home such as walking or exercising in the neighborhood, or walking the dog. Face coverings are recommended for everyone over the age of two.”
“Businesses in Chula Vista are required to have all employees who may have contact with members of the public or are handling/preparing food to wear face coverings. All essential businesses must observe social distancing requirements and post social distancing and sanitation protocols at the entrance of their business,” according to the city.
Salas also said she would make a recommendation to the Metropolitan Transit System to have anyone on a bus or trolley, or waiting at a bus or trolley stop wear a face covering.
As far as enforcement of the new requirement, Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy said warnings will be issued during “an education phase,” but a fine of up to $1,000 could potentially be issued to those who violate the rule.
Chula Vista parks, libraries, recreation centers, and City Hall will remain closed, according to the mayor.
The stay at home order will remain in effect in Chula Vista until the governor lifts the order, Salas said.
The mayor reminded Chula Vista residents who are in need of food but unable to obtain it on their own can call 211 or 619-476-2417 for assistance.
National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis reminded the public that face coverings are required in her city - an order issued on April 21.
“We want to help protect our essential employees, their families, and our neighbors to the south,” said Solis.
Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina added, “We want to make sure we do everything possible to protect our residents … If we continue to cover up and rock the mask, we will help get through this so we can recover. This is going to be the new normal, so it’s important that our residents do the new normal.”
While Dedina did not say his city is instituting a mandatory face covering order, Imperial Beach officials say visitors to the city's reopened parks must wear face coverings.
“If you leave your place, cover your face,” Salas said.