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'I Think It Goes Too Far': Narberth Ordinance Will Fine People $15 Caught Without A Face Covering

NARBERTH, Pa. (CBS) -- In one Montgomery County community, you need to be sure to mask up or pay up. Narberth Mayor Andrea Deutsch is expected to sign an ordinance that will fine people caught without a face covering.

Narberth Police will first give people a warning, but the second time someone is caught without a mask, a $15 fine will be issued.

"I don't know about the $15 part," resident Charles Hutton said. "I think it goes too far."

People who live and work in Narberth can't stop talking about the area's new face mask rule.

"People are sort of at the threshold of being told what to do," business owner Ellen Brown said.

Narberth Borough Council unanimously approved the ordinance Wednesday night during a virtual meeting. The ordinance mandates people wear a face covering in public places in Narberth, including parks and in its business district on Haverford Avenue.

For those found without a mask, they could be issued a $15 fine.

"I think it's one of the most important mandates for local governments to protect the public safety of our residents," Narberth Borough Councilmember Muna Elshakhs said.

Narberth Police are expected to enforce the new rules, but officers will be required to give a warning at first.

However, there are some exceptions. Children under the age of 2 and people who have certain health conditions are exempt.

"In the residential areas, people are free to follow their own guidance and whatever they feel is appropriate," Deutsch said.

Deutsch doesn't believe the mask mandate will deter business.

"I know there's a lot of people, elderly people, who've been staying away due to people not wearing masks," the mayor said. "So I actually think it may have the opposite effect."

Deutsch also says the $15 fine is not meant to make money but to make sure people comply. Still, some believe the fine goes too far.

"Maybe the warning is sufficient. Do we really need to penalize people? Do we really need the police involved?" resident Kevin Corcoran said.

The mandate is expected to go into effect as soon as the mayor signs the ordinance, which is expected to happen before the weekend. It's also temporary and is not meant to continue after the pandemic.


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