by Velena Jones

MANTECA (CBS13) — Residents in Manteca could be facing an expensive fine if they don’t listen to city social distancing orders. 

The $1,000 fine would be given to repeat offenders, after education and several warnings.  

The emergency ordinance approved this week was created after multiple calls to police of residents violating social-distancing orders at the start of the pandemic. 

Since then, Lt. Stephen Schluer said community members, for the most part, have been following the rules.

It’s not to be big brother and drive around and police everyone who is doing something wrong,” Schluer explained. “The intent is to use this as a tool and the last measure in enforcement.”

Kayla Torio, a Manteca resident, believes the new ordinance is a good step for those who don’t play by the rules.

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“Especially, since they are giving them so many warnings, at that point you guys should obey the law at that point because we are trying to have this whole stay-at-home order be lifted,” she said.

Similar ordinances have been adopted in Beverly Hills and Manhattan Beach in Southern California. Police are focusing on large gatherings like house parties or at parks. The administrative citations, also eliminate possible jail time. 

“We haven’t even had to get to this point with before, explaining the health and safety code or the government code where it could be a misdemeanor. We haven’t had to get that and so in our opinion it is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” said Lt. Schluer. 

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Not everyone believes the pricy ticket will encourage people to follow the rules. While Jacob Lehmann doesn’t have a problem with the fine, he doesn’t think it will make an impact.   

“They are still going to do it,” Lehmann said. “I think people really have a hard time following rules that are differentnobody likes change.”

The ordinance is not specifically for COVID-19 enforcement, Schluer said it can be used anytime a state of emergency is in effect to enforce the rules. Schuler said the ordinance could be used in cases of severe flooding, to enforce road restrictions, as an example. 

“There is a vast number of other disasters that happen, that this could come into effect,” he said.