San Juan Bautista distributes masks as order goes into effect

April 29 drive-thru for those in need taking place at community center.
Deputy City Clerk Trish Paetz wearing a face covering. Photo provided.
Deputy City Clerk Trish Paetz wearing a face covering. Photo provided.

Now that San Benito residents are required to wear facial coverings in public as of April 27, the city of San Juan Bautista is distributing masks to those who cannot afford or otherwise obtain them. Two distributions have already taken place, with a third one scheduled for April 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Juan Bautista Community Center.

“We have another 700 masks and that will be a drive-thru situation,” City Manager Don Reynolds said. “The staff will all be in gloves and masks handing out masks. We plan to limit it to four or five per car.”

Residents picking up masks from the community center at 10 San Jose Street will need to bring a postcard mailed from the city to use as proof of residency. The city manager emphasized that the free masks are intended “for the needy and people who can’t afford to buy them, people on limited incomes.”

At the first distribution on April 24, the city handed out 50 masks to members of the Community Wellness Program, a recently created program for seniors and disadvantaged residents.

“Our Wellness Program gives us great communication and the ability to call the members,” Reynolds said. “They are our top priority and we wanted to be sure they got the masks they need.”

The second distribution of masks on April 27 focused on people participating in the Aromas-San Juan Unified School District meal program. Reynolds said the city coordinated with Superintendent Michele Huntoon.

“We received 200 masks from the San Benito Chamber of Commerce, all handmade, and they went out with the meals,” Reynolds said.

The city is hoping to have more available for pickup at city hall or the fire station on Polk Street following the April 29 distribution. Priority will still be based on need or inability to purchase a mask.

When it comes to citations for failing to wear a face covering in public, any that are issued would be minor, according to San Benito County Public Information Officer David Westrick.

“Law enforcement would most likely try to educate the violator,” he said. “Nobody wants to write a ticket for this. They know folks aren’t working. They know people are frustrated. So they are trying to be reasonable.”

Please contact city hall if you are able to donate masks/face coverings.


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Robert Eliason

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