Pismo Beach City Council votes to mandate face masks in mid-June

A split Pismo Beach City Council on Tuesday voted 3-2 for an ordinance requiring people to wear face masks inside essential businesses. If approved during a second meeting on May 19, the ordinance will go into force 30 days later, on June 19.

The council was split, with councilmembers Erik Howell, Marcia Guthrie and Sheila Blake wanting to pass an urgency ordinance requiring face mask usage immediately. However, an urgency ordinance requires a two-thirds majority to pass, which the council did not have.

Both Mayor Ed Waage and Councilwoman Mary Ann Reiss voted against the proposed urgency ordinance. Waage supports San Luis Obispo County’s Heath Officer Penny Borenstein’s recommendations regarding masks: that people with issues such as asthma or COPD should not be required to wear masks.

“I am trusting the health officer,” Waage said. “The county health officer has done a great job keeping rates down.”

Pismo Beach, which has had a seven confirmed cases, has not had a confirmed case of the coronavirus since April 24.

With Waage opposed, the council then voted to approve an ordinance requiring masks to be worn inside essential businesses and by people standing outside in line waiting to enter. Waage voiced concerns over the consistency of the ordinance, that as written will only impact essential businesses that are currently open, and not those to be phased in in the future.

At the scheduled May 19 council meeting, the council can either vote to approve the ordinance as written, or vote to enact changes which will restart the process.

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