The Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva spoke out on Friday to defiantly say that he will not be using the department’s “limited resources” to enforce the new mask mandate imposed on the county since it is “not backed by science.”
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” he added.
This came after L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said that the order that mandates masks for residents “regardless of vaccination status” was implemented after a rise in positive coronavirus cases in the county. It took effect on Saturday at 11:59 p.m.
“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, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We expect to keep this order in place until we begin to see improvements.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger took to Twitter to give her thoughts on the situation.
“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 wrote. “LA County should remain aligned with the State instead of creating confusion and disagreement at the local level.”
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. LA County should remain aligned with the State instead of creating confusion and disagreement at the local level.
— Supervisor Kathryn Barger (@kathrynbarger) July 17, 2021
“I don’t think it should be mandatory,” Barger later added 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.”