Los Angeles County Sheriff Will Not Enforce Reinstated Indoor Mask Mandate

Alex Villanueva (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty)
Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty

The Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Friday said he would not use the department’s “limited resources” to enforce the new mask mandate imposed on the county since it is “not backed by science.”

The decision to reinstate the Los Angeles County indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, has seen mixed reviews, particularly by Villanueva.

In a statement, Villanueva claimed that the new mandate to force even the vaccinated to wear a mask is “not backed by science” and contradicts federal guidelines.

“Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines,” Villanueva wrote.

He explained that the county’s Department of Public Health has the “authority” to enforce the order. However, he stated that the “underfunded” and “defunded” sheriff’s department under his watch “will not expend our limited resources.”

“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,” Villanueva added.

The order that mandates masks for residents “regardless of vaccination status” was implemented after a rise in positive Chinese coronavirus cases in the county and will take effect Saturday at 11:59 p.m., according to L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis.

“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 now,” Davis said Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger also tweeted her feeling about the mask mandate, saying she is “concerned” about the rising cases.

“I don’t believe the mask mandate will help efforts to stress vaccine efficacy and compel unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated. LA County should remain aligned with the State instead of creating confusion and disagreement at the local level,” She added.

“I don’t think it should be mandatory,” Barger also said, according to KABC. “I think it should be recommended. Every other county in the state to my knowledge, we are the only county that’s doing it mandatory.”

Davis also suggested that the mask mandate will resemble the one in place before California’s reopening. He claimed that L.A. County witnessed an 83 percent increase in positive cases over the last week.


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