King City Hall (Ryan Cronk/Staff)

KING CITY — The city council for King City voted to rescind the municipal mask ordinance during its May 11 meeting.

The decision only means that the city’s enforcement policies have changed, while the state continues to require face coverings due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

City Manager Steve Adams said the urgency ordinance was first established to give the police department an extra tool in enforcement by allowing officers to issue citations if necessary and to effectively communicate the rules to the community. He explained the city had originally considered multiple such ordinances to comply with state health guidelines.

“As the orders began to change more frequently, we decided it was not realistic to be able to maintain that in effect for all the components of the orders that were being issued, so we instead did an emergency ordinance that just applied to the mask wearing requirements, because after a while it began to be the primary item we were getting complaints about and needed to enforce,” Adams said.

With guidelines loosening up and Monterey County reversing its orders to instead refer to the state requirements, Adams explained it was time for the city to also refer to the state’s rules rather than have its own ordinance.

“It was never our intent to have our own local regulations,” he said. “It was only to establish the process so that we could have a more efficient and effective process enforcing the orders of the governor and the health officer.”

Adams also noted the city hasn’t issued a citation “in quite a while” and that “the urgency ordinance is no longer necessary.” He stressed the shift does not change the state requirement to wear masks.

“This does not mean that masks are no longer required,” Adams said. “We won’t have our own enforcement and citation process. We’ll fall under the countywide process that everyone else does.”

Councilmember Rob Cullen expressed his agreement with the decision but also raised concerns for the ever-evolving rules.

“My biggest concern between us as a city, the county and the state, there’s been so many changes, there has got to be mass confusion amongst the public about what the current rules are,” Cullen said. “I hope that we as a city, the county and ultimately the state can do a better job of getting the word out on what the current rules are.”

Cullen added that he has had numerous discussions with people who expressed having no idea of what the rules are or what they’re supposed to do in certain situations. He recommended the city work on informing the public, especially local businesses.

“Ultimately, the goal is to keep people healthy and safe,” Cullen said.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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