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'Not backed by science:' LA County sheriff will not enforce new mask mandate

CoronavirusJul 17, 2021 03:25PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person wearing a protective face mask uses her mobile phone during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo 2/2

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) - A new mask mandate in Los Angeles County, set to go into effect at a minute before midnight Saturday and designed to combat the spread of COVID-19, will not be enforced by the county's top lawman or his deputies.

The new mandate from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health requires people to wear masks indoors, even if they are already vaccinated against the disease.

But Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the order is "not backed by science," and that it contradicts guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which does not prescribe masks indoors for most vaccinated people.

The sheriff added that he "will not expend our limited resources" and that his office instead asks for "voluntary compliance" from the public.

The county, home to 10 million people and the nation's second-largest city, Los Angeles, is grappling with COVID-19, its Delta variant and case numbers rising to worrisome levels.

The DPH announcement comes after six straight days of more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in Los Angeles County.

"We’re requiring masking for everyone while indoors at public settings & businesses, regardless of vaccination status so that we can stop the increased level of transmission we're seeing," the DPH said on Twitter Thursday.

The county has become a place of "substantial" transmission, based on criteria set by the CDC, the Los Angeles County health officer, Dr. Muntu Davis, said in remarks provided to reporters.

It was unclear if other law enforcement agencies would also pass on enforcement.

The Los Angeles Police Department on Saturday did not immediately respond to inquires as to whether or not its officers would enforce the rule within city limits.

It was also unclear what the potential fines would be. Consequences were not outlined in two-page media release from the DPH.

In recent months, violations of local mask orders in California could cost anything from a first-time warning to fines between $100 and $500. In Los Angeles County last year, code enforcement officers could also shut down businesses for noncompliance.

Other California counties and other states are also grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases and are renewing mask recommendations

Sacramento, Yolo and Fresno Counties in California recently recommended that masks be worn indoors even by people who are vaccinated. Austin, Texas, on Thursday urged people who are not vaccinated or are otherwise high-risk to avoid travel, indoor gatherings, dining out and shopping, and to wear masks.

'Not backed by science:' LA County sheriff will not enforce new mask mandate
 

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Comments (7)
William Smith
William Smith Jul 19, 2021 8:57AM ET
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Studies show Covid cases surge when common masks are worn, apparently because people are constantly pulling them "back up" with contaminated fingers as the constantly slip down of the nose.
Aaron Chaff
AayAayRon Jul 18, 2021 2:22AM ET
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But... muh mask! Muh mask! I need muh mask! Moar! Moar masks! Reeeeeeeeeeee!
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Jul 17, 2021 11:44PM ET
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Time to wake up and realize it’s evolving into a common cold virus. It will continue to spread but become less deadly, especially with vaccinations and antibodies.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Jul 17, 2021 11:44PM ET
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The restrictions are in vain, unless you’re a power loving politician or bureaucrat.
David David
David9 Jul 17, 2021 11:44PM ET
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it will evolved to more and more deadly... delta is more deadly...
William Smith
William Smith Jul 17, 2021 11:44PM ET
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Davis, viruses always, over time, evolve into less deadly form with the occassional variant being more deadly. The death rate is way down with the Delta variant compared to earlier variants. You are being gaslighted by fake news. England's cases are near all time daily highs but deaths are a small fraction of previous daily highs.
David David
David9 Jul 17, 2021 11:34PM ET
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We need masks going forward. It protects from unknown disease and sickness also...
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Jul 17, 2021 11:34PM ET
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What people need is healthier lifestyles. Covid tried to tackle the problem instead. The pandemic was a great example of evolution at work, we just fought back.
Brian Chong
Brian Chong Jul 17, 2021 6:08PM ET
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what is purpose of getting vaccination when you still have to wear mask. ahh, the stupidity of government in Los Angeles
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Jul 17, 2021 5:50PM ET
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CA Democrat officials have no problem with Antifa/BLM destroying private property, looting stores, taking over police precints. How hypocrite is the Democratic party?
Johnny Crash
Johnny Crash Jul 17, 2021 3:34PM ET
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The US should make China pay for creating and releasing the virus
Me comment
Me comment Jul 17, 2021 3:34PM ET
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Yeah I'm sure that will go as well as trumps claim he would make Mexico pay for the border wall. Both just some uneducated trump supporter BS.
David David
David9 Jul 17, 2021 3:34PM ET
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should make.... brahahahhaa....
 
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