Red Phone: Masks in public are not illegal

Red Phone

“Dear Red Phone, Twice recently I have seen a sign-twirler for one of those temporary Halloween stores that pop up every year holding a sign on the corner of 10th and Camino Arroyo (and in Morgan Hill on Cochrane Road). My problem is, these sign-twirlers wear full masks, you know those scary white ones that burglars wear. Isn’t it illegal to completely cover your face in public with a mask, even in the festive season of Halloween? Thank you.”

Red Phone:  Dear Stickler for Signs, The problem you describe isn’t a crime at all. The employee just trying to earn a paycheck has been asked to wear a mask to perform his/her job, but we can see how it might seem off-putting as you drive by in your car. Just know that citizens are free to wear what they want without fear of breaking any laws.

The only instance when wearing a mask would be considered illegal, according to Gilroy Police Sgt. Pedro Espinoza, is when it’s paired with “evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of any public offense,” or “concealment, flight, or escape, when charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, any public offense,” according to the California Penal Code.

It’s “certainly not illegal to have your face covered in public. Halloween or not,” said Sgt. Troy Hoefling from the Morgan Hill Police Department. There you are good caller, hope that gives you some perspective on the situation.

MHUSD closed Monday for furlough

“Dear Red Phone, I saw on my kid’s calendar that he doesn’t have school Monday, Oct. 8 – why is that? I don’t remember Oct. 8 being significant. Did I miss something?”

Red Phone: Dear Parental Control, The reason schools at Morgan Hill Unified School District are closed is due to the budget reduction that was passed for the 2012-13 year, which includes one furlough day for students and employees.

Of course, that day is Monday and district offices will be closed as well. Projected savings for the one furlough day is $200,000, and the overall budget reductions for 2012-13 totaled $1.2 million, according to MHUSD.

A second furlough day may be necessary in the month of May if Gov. Jerry Brown implements mid-year cuts, though that might depend on the passing of Prop 38, which asks voters to extend  an income tax increase to support public education.


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