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Dozens of social-distancing violators cited in San Diego area over the weekend

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department issued 25 tickets over the weekend; SDPD handed out tickets to 16 individuals and cited five businesses.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. —
Dozens of San Diego-area residents and some local businesses received citations over the weekend for violating government social- distancing requirements designed to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, authorities reported Monday.

In the city of San Diego, police handed out 16 tickets to individuals on Saturday and Sunday -- five in Balboa Park and 11 in the Ocean Beach area, including Sunset Cliffs and Robb Field park, SDPD public-affairs Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said.

Officers also cited five smoke shops in the city for violating regulations mandating the temporary closure of all but essential businesses, such as pharmacies, food venders and gas stations.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department, for its part, issued 25 tickets over the weekend to people violating the public-health orders by leaving their homes unnecessarily, congregating in large groups or failing to stay at least six feet away from others, according to Supervisor Greg Cox.

"The warnings are over," Cox told reporters Sunday. "We're now down to serious business."



Conversely, the police department in Oceanside, where beaches closed to the public Friday night, began the coronavirus-related prohibition period by giving verbal warnings to offenders, all of whom were cooperative and dispersed when asked to do so, OPD Lt. Aaron Doyle said.

In Carlsbad, two people were given citations over the weekend after refusing to leave a public park, according to Greg Koran, a lieutenant with the coastal city's police department.

The Chula Vista Police Department ticketed no social-distancing violators on Saturday or Sunday, CVPD Lt. Gino Grippo said. 

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BACKGROUND 

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.  

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:  

Know how it spreads 

  • There is no vaccine  

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus 

  • It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact 

  • And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes 

Protect yourself 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds 

  • If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick 

  • Put distance between yourselves and others 

Protect others 

  • Stay home when you are sick 

  • Wear a facemask if you are sick 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash 

  • If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow 

  • Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing  

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe 

You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page. 

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses. 

While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.