Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has confirmed he will not allow his department to enforce Newsom’s new mask mandate set to take effect this weekend.
On Thursday, Newsom’s Department of Public Health revived a requirement that masks be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status.
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“We’re not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late, given what we’re seeing,” L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis told reporters.
In a statement, Villanueva said forcing those who have COVID immunity to wear masks indoors “is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.”
“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance,” he said. “We encourage the DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.”
Foxnews.com reports: Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathy Barger also voiced her opposition to the order.
“I am concerned by rising cases, but I don’t believe the mask mandate will help efforts to stress vaccine efficacy and compel unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated,” she tweeted Friday. “LA County should remain aligned with the State instead of creating confusion and disagreement at the local level.”
Fox News has reached out to the Department of Public Health but has not heard back.
The new mandate goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. All indoor spaces, including gyms, retail stores, large events, offices and restaurants – when not eating or drinking – will require the wearing of a mask.
It was not clear how long health officials plan to keep the order. David said transmission of the coronavirus has steadily increased since the county’s June 15 reopening. The Delta variant, which is more contagious than other stains, has raised concerns from health officials, as well.
On Friday, the Public Health Department said the COVID-19 positivity rate increased 700% in one month – jumping from 0.5% to 3.7%. The agency urged residents to get vaccinated.
“The vaccines can protect you from serious illness, hospitalization and death,” it tweeted.