LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies will not actively enforce the new indoor mask mandate while on patrol.
Face mask signage is displayed outside the Trunks bar after midnight early Sunday morning on July 18, 2021 in West Hollywood, Calif. (Getty Images)
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters Friday that deputies would not enforce the mandate, which took effect at midnight Saturday.
Villanueva claims the requirement for vaccinated people to wear masks “is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.”
Villanueva also said that his department is too underfunded to allocate resources towards enforcement.
“For the department as a whole, we’ll comply when we’re working of course, and we’re gonna rely on voluntary compliance of these business owners,” Villanueva said. “But ultimately, all we’re doing is, it’s actually backfiring on us, because we’re creating more resentment, more anger and more mistrust.”
Under the new L.A. County mandate, everyone is required to wear masks in indoor public places, regardless of whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
The mandate comes in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases brought on by the highly contagious Delta variant. Through Sunday, L.A. County has recorded ten straight days with at least 1,000 coronavirus cases.
On Sunday, L.A. County reported 1,635 new cases and four deaths from the disease. Sunday’s daily test positivity rate was 3.8%. On June 15, the day most statewide restrictions were lifted, test positivity was 0.5%.
“Given the increased intermingling among unmasked people where vaccination status is unknown, the millions of people still unvaccinated, and the increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, we are seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 infection,” L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.
According to the latest numbers, 61% of L.A. County residents ages 16 and older are fully vaccinated.