Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his department would not enforce a COVID-19 health order mandating people to wear masks indoors, saying it’s “not backed by science” and citing an “underfunded” department.
The statement was issued one day after county officials announced a new mask mandate for residents in indoor public locations regardless of vaccine status, set to take effect Saturday at 11:59 p.m.
“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 Friday.
The CDC guidance states fully vaccinated people can resume daily activities without wearing a mask unless otherwise instructed by workplaces, businesses, or travel authorities.
Villanueva added deputies would “not expend our limited resources” to enforce the order, noting the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is already “underfunded/defunded.” Still, the sheriff said law enforcement requests “voluntary compliance.”