County of Santa Clara Begins Civil Enforcement of Public Health Orders


August 17, 2020​

On Tuesday, August 11, 2020 the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted an ordinance authorizing fines for violations of Public Health Officer orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  A few days later, the Administration issued the first notices of violation against three businesses that were operating in violation of the orders.  The notices of violation informed the businesses of the proposed fines and gave them a grace period to make corrections to avoid paying the fines.  Two of the three businesses have made the necessary corrections and thus will no longer face fines.  The third business is still within the grace period to take corrective action to avoid the fine.

“This ordinance provides an added tool to enforce the Health Officer’s orders and protect the public in Santa Clara County,” said County Counsel James R. Williams. “It is our hope that businesses will use the grace period to make the necessary corrections and avoid fines, but if they fail to do so, the penalties are significant.  The vast majority of businesses are playing by the rules and keeping our community’s wellbeing as their priority, but those that are not need to know that our community is serious about enforcement.  We all have a responsibility to do our part and closely and consistently follow public health directives.”

“We are glad to see corrections being made in response to the citations of the Health Officer orders issued by the designated enforcement officers,” said Michael Balliet, Director of Environmental Health.  “Our goal is to educate and not fine businesses, but fines will be issued if businesses refuse to comply with the laws protecting the public from COVID-19.”

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