California Sheriff Won’t Enforce Masks: ‘We Are Not the Mask Police’

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 19: Seniors shop for groceries during special hours open to seniors and the disabled at Northgate Gonzalez Market, a Hispanic specialty supermarket, on March 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Northgate Gonzalez Market is opening all of its Southern California locations one hour early, from …
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A California sheriff is vowing to look the other way as it pertains to enforcing an order requiring that residents wear masks in public.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes made his announcement Tuesday in front of the county’s board of supervisors. The county recently passed an order requiring all residents to wear a mask if they cannot stay six feet away from people, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We are not the mask police — nor do I intend to be the mask police,” Barnes said. “I think what we have seen repeatedly throughout the community is Orange County residents acting responsibly.”

Barnes went on to call the residents “adults” who “can take the protective measures as they see fit.”

“We have not dealt with these issues through enforcement, and I will direct my staff not to direct any enforcement toward the … mask requirement,” he added.

Orange County has had 5,646 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Thursday, 136 of them being fatal, according to the Orange County Department of Public Health’s website.

Barnes is not the only sheriff not to enforce a mask order. Police and sheriffs’ unions in Texas’s largest county, Harris County, said in April that they would not enforce an order by county Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, requiring that everyone wear a mask.

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