MANTECA, Calif (KTXL) — Manteca police can now fine people $1,000 if they’re caught in large groups, in defiance of stay-at-home orders.
Manteca Police Department spokesman Lieutenant Stephen Schluer told FOX40 he hopes they won’t have to cite anyone.
“It’s another tool within our toolbox, to be able to enforce the order,” explained Schluer. “It is a last resort, it’s not something that is going to be the first thing out of our bag.”
As the state slowly begins to reopen, gatherings of people outside of family members and roommates are still off-limits to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
“We don’t want this to be a hammer. What we want is compliance. We want voluntary compliance,” said Schluer.
Schluer said the city is taking an education-based approach and said it will be up to the officer to decide when to cite someone after giving multiple warnings.
“What we’re going to do is use it for larger group gatherings and when everything else has been exhausted,” said Schluer.
The city council voted to amend an existing ordinance to give police the power to write administrative citations during times of emergency, instead of arresting people and taking them to jail.
“It can also be used for floods, fires, natural disasters or COVID-2020, or whatever the next disaster is,” said Schluer.
Schluer says officers won’t be out patrolling the streets looking for violators but will respond to reported complaints.
“It’s better to have something and not need it than need it not have it,” said Schluer. “Hopefully it’s something that’ll never have to be used.”
You can report a complaint by contacting the Emergency Operations Center at 209-456-8854 or email firstname.lastname@example.org