Whiskey Creek Saloon on Fifth Street in Hollister was one of two businesses in town where citations were issued for people not wearing a face mask inside the establishment. Credit: File photo

The City of Hollister has been cracking down on its face mask ordinance, issuing fines and citations for those flouting the rules in public places. 

City Development Services director Bryan Swanson on Dec. 7 provided an update during the city council meeting on the face mask ordinance. He mentioned that a code enforcement officer visited San Benito Billiards and Whisky Creek Saloon where she issued several citations. 

She issued 4 citations at the pool hall and 6 at the bar to people for not wearing face masks. Swanson also noted that no food is being served at either location. 

Swanson pointed out that participating in sports activities is also prohibited. They will have code enforcement staff this weekend visiting different parks in the region to watch for any sports activity. 

Swanson encourages the public to make references or complaints to the county board of health because their referrals go directly to them.

“It’s always good to have a formal referral and then that referral will trickle down to city staff and then we will act on that,” he said.

They’ve received six referrals from San Benito County on different businesses in town that are not following the ordinances. Swanson said they’re constantly going through educational opportunities with the businesses and they will be issuing citations to individuals not following the ordinance.

Councilman Rolan Resendiz mentioned during the meeting that he’s glad the city is taking action, especially when he heard that San Juan Bautista was having trouble enforcing its mask ordinance.

“We want to support the businesses as much as we can but we have to do it in a responsible and a safe manner,” he said. “I’m glad to hear that it’s being taken seriously by our staff and it’s being enforced.” 

Councilwoman Carol Lenoir mentioned that she doesn’t take the face mask ordinance lightly and it’s the reason she advocated for it to be enforced.

“It’s not because I want to be mean, it’s because we have a health crisis,” she said. 

Lenior added that she knows enforcing a face mask ordinance would be a giant task. But she believes that public agencies such as the county public health department, Hollister Police Department and perhaps the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office can work together to start cracking down on those in violation.

“It is the law now, it’s not an option,” she said. “You’ve got to wear it out in the public, for all of you who do, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”  

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