News Flash

COVID-19 Updates

Posted on: August 4, 2020

You Could Receive a Fine for Violating Health Orders

County Creates Fines for Violating Health Orders, Including Refusing to Wear Face Covering

City of San Mateo Asks for Community to Be Patient, Use Discretion When Making Reports

Trust us – we’d really rather you follow safety precautions and not get a ticket! San Mateo County created a new enforcement tool for violations of the COVID-19 health orders, and while we’re going to continue focusing on education first, we’re also creating a process to issue tickets for repeat and serious offenses.

What can you do? Comply with COVID-19 safety precautions! And remember, someone may have a valid reason to not be wearing a face covering, such as a medical condition, so be patient and try to give folks the benefit of the doubt.

Review the Latest Health Orders

The health orders may change from time to time, so carefully review the latest State Health Orders and the San Mateo County Health Orders before making a complaint.

We’re required to wear face coverings when outside of the home and in close proximity to others – such as while inside a business or outside waiting in line. Face coverings are not required when outdoors recreating, so long as social distancing protocols can be followed. Face coverings are not required while seated in outdoor dining areas. There are also restrictions on how businesses can or cannot operate and what activities are allowed.

Enforcement Steps & Penalties 

City of San Mateo COVID-19 Enforcement Officers will include park rangers, code enforcement officers and police officers. 

In order to enforce these orders, an enforcement officer must witness the violation firsthand. A written warning will be provided before any ticket is issued. The County’s adopted penalty structure draws distinctions between individuals and non-commercial entities, and commercial entities where violations jeopardize the health of both employees and customers. Individuals can receive a $100 fine for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 for additional violations with the same year. Commercial entities risk a minimum fine of $250 and a maximum of $3,000 per violation depending on the gravity of the health risk, prior warnings and any good faith efforts to comply. Enforcement officers must personally observe an individual’s violation but can also receive a credible report for a business.  

Reporting within the City of San Mateo

Reports can be made online at, or by calling (650) 522-7011. We’ll carefully evaluate all reports for enforcement and use them to help inform our enforcement strategy.

We are prioritizing complaints about businesses and large groups of people within the city of San Mateo. Please note you may or may not hear directly from an enforcement officer following your complaint, however we take all reports seriously and are proactively monitoring throughout the City on routine patrols.

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