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City Dispenses Free Masks To Residents
mask distribution
City of Riverbank Administrative Assistant Gaby Hernandez, on the left, distributes boxes of free masks from the doorway to the council chambers. The city decided to get serious about enforcing the governor’s order and now requires them in businesses around town. Fines for violations can go as high as $1,000 per offense, but the city also is giving away the boxes of masks to residents on Mondays. Ric McGinnis/The News

Back in mid-July, the Riverbank City Council approved an ordinance that requires all people entering, and while in businesses in town, to wear a face mask. It was in accordance with statewide guidelines established by Governor Gavin Newsom, hoping to stem the tide of increases in COVID-19 cases.

The city ordinance provides for an increasing level of fines for violating the order, as high as $1,000 for continued infraction of the order, but officials have also provided a means to easily adhere to it.

For the past few weeks, a city employee has been stationed at the doorway to the council chambers from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays to issue residents boxes of free masks for them and their families to use, so they can remain in compliance.

City Administrative Assistant Gaby Hernandez was issuing them on a recent Monday and reiterated that the city is making them available to residents for free. All they need do is stop by Mondays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

According to Hernandez, the city also is distributing the masks at Riverbank Food Sharing on Fridays at the Scout Hall, and through Saint Frances of Rome Catholic Church.

The council approved the Emergency Ordinance on July 16. It requires “every person entering into a business, and continuing until their departure, to wear a face mask or covering that covers the nose and mouth, in accordance with the state guidelines applicable to the specific industry sector for that business.”

The city says violation of the order can result in fines, from $250, to $500 or $1,000, but that it hopes that all businesses voluntarily comply with the order in the interest of public health.