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I-Team looks at face covering enforcement in Palm Springs

If you take a stroll through downtown Palm Springs, you might encounter a police officer reminding people to put on a mask. There are also electronic warning signs encouraging people to cover their faces.

The city has made masks and social-distancing mandatory in many public settings and specifically in and around businesses.

We looked at the city's "code compliance report" for the week of July 13 through 19 and here's what we discovered:

There were 158 total complaints, including vacation rentals. Most of them coming from the code-enforcement hotline.

A total of 55 businesses were inspected for a variety of reasons with at least one of them cited for violating the face-covering order. This was the hotel "Exotic Dreams" on Warm Sands Drive.

According to the code-compliance report, last Friday, officers discovered a "large gathering at a pool with a DJ, with no social distancing and no one wearing face coverings."

"Yeah, that's clearly not allowed and that was a complaint that came in and we investigated it and found out to be true. Actually I believe a citation will be given there. Those kinds of things we will focus on that we see as potential hotspot potential or egregious willful disregard," said Palm Springs City Manager David Ready.

The management at "Exotic Dreams" declined to comment.

It's also worth noting that dozens of vacation rentals were also inspected with eight citations issued, mainly for loud noise.

So with tourists now returning to Palm Springs, the city says it's more important than ever for people to follow the rules. Starting this weekend, the city plans to begin issuing more citations, not just warnings, to anyone not wearing a mask.

"Palm Springs has to be about being safe or we're not going to be a tourism destination for one. And number two the residents that live here deserve to feel safe. They need to have a comfort level that we're enforcing laws, because again this is not about any one individual. This is about all of us," Ready said.

City officials say most people and businesses have cooperated with the order, but if you would like to make a complaint you can call the "code enforcement hotline" at 760-778-8434.

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Peter Daut


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