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CHPD: Stores can arrest customers for trespassing if they don’t follow mask rules

Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence clarified in a statement to business owners Friday that police will assist if requested to help enforce store policies, including requirements to wear masks.

“With limited resources, the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) does not have the capacity to proactively enforce wearing masks in the general public, and broad enforcement would be difficult to achieve,” said Lawrence in an email update to business owners. “However, CHPD encourages and supports business owner efforts to comply with the Public Health Order (PHO) and enforce your own rules on your property.”

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Lawrence said stores are able to pursue four actions regarding face mask requirements or other store rules:

  • Businesses may refuse to serve a customer for not complying with store rules.
  • Businesses may also refuse to allow customers entrance or ask them to leave for failing to follow store rules, including the PHO.
  • If a person refuses to leave private property, CHPD can assist with trespass advisement.
  • Beyond advisement, businesses may make a citizen’s arrest for trespassing, which CHPD would facilitate within the law.

The police chief also cautioned that exemptions to the order exist, noting that businesses and others “should take care when dealing with a person who may have a legitimate need to not wear a face-covering or mask.”

Exceptions to the statewide mask order include children age two and under, along with those with medical conditions and other criteria. A full list of exemptions and additional information is available at

Police chief says mask mandate won’t be ‘criminally enforced’ in Citrus Heights

In an email to The Sentinel, Lawrence said the department continues to encourage voluntary compliance with health orders and has also helped pass out more than 13,000 free face masks to local businesses.

“Responding to crimes in-progress, protecting people from violent crimes, preventing looting, burglaries, and other property crimes, as well as responding to traffic collisions and keeping our roadways safe by trying to prevent traffic fatalities, remain our top priorities,” the police chief said.

“Someone failing to comply with wearing a mask is a low priority when compared to other types of calls the police department must handle, and the offense for not wearing a face-covering is minor in nature with limited sanctions,” he said.

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