The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office is refusing to enforce California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) order requiring residents to wear face coverings in public as part of an effort to combat the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
The Sheriff’s Office said it would be “inappropriate” to criminally enforce Newsom’s mandate or punish individuals and businesses for not complying.
Sheriff Scott Jones said in a statement Friday:
Due to the minor nature of the offense, the potential for negative outcomes during enforcement encounters, and anticipating the various ways in which the order may be violated, it would be inappropriate for deputies to criminally enforce the Governor’s mandate.
Jones confirmed that Sheriff’s Office staff will follow the mask mandate “to the extent feasible.
The county has 1,976 confirmed coronavirus cases and 67 deaths as of Friday. California has more than 160,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and approximately 5,300 deaths, state public health officials said Thursday.
Additionally, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office also said it will not uphold the order, spokeswoman Angela Musallam said.
“We do hope (people) will take the rule to heart, but we have no interest in arresting or penalizing people who aren’t wearing masks in any way,” said Musallam.
As of Thursday, Californians are required to wear a mask while in line or inside public spaces, at the workplace, and when waiting for or while riding public transportation, the newly-issued state guidelines say. People engaged in hiking, running or bicycling do not need to wear a mask. Children under two-years-old and individuals with medical conditions are also exempt from the order.
“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Newsom said in a statement.”They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open, and restarting our economy.” It continued:
Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered – putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease. California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands, and practicing physical distancing.
Newson’s mask order also comes as restaurants, bars, malls, hair salons, parks, beaches, hotels, and gyms have begun to reopen in the state.
In May, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) ordered residents to wear face coverings when they leave home.