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Sheriff in California refuses to enforce mask mandate, says it’s ‘not backed by science,’ stirring outrage

Los Angeles County health officials shocked many this week when they announced that their mask mandate would be returning. Similar to the restriction in place before the county began reopening last month, residents have been told to wear masks in indoor settings and large gatherings, regardless of one’s vaccination status. 

County officials reinstated the mask mandate due to new Covid-19 daily cases reaching over 1,000 every day for a week. Health officials also cited the Delta variant as a reason why people “need to reduce our risk of infection and our risk for potentially infecting others.”

Villanueva, who is up for reelection next year, was quick to respond to the mandate, and made it clear that he and his officers would have no part in helping the county enforce the new rule.

“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,” he said in a statement.

The “underfunded” department, the sheriff added, will not be using their “limited resources” to make sure people are in compliance, though he made sure to say they “have the authority” to enforce if they wanted to. The sheriff is asking for “voluntary compliance” from residents instead. 

Villanueva’s announcement has earned him plenty of attention. Much of it has predictably been outrage from left-leaning pundits supportive of the current administration’s handling of Covid-19. President Joe Biden and numerous White House officials have recently been giving morose warnings about not only the “pandemic among the unvaccinated,” but also social media posts that allegedly spread Covid-19 and vaccine “misinformation.”

Some have even called for the sheriff’s removal from his position. 

Villanueva has also received praise from those more critical and weary of pandemic-era restrictions returning.

Los Angeles is not the only city that will be masking up again. Las Vegas is also facing recommendations from county health officials that people be masked in large gatherings and indoor settings, whether they are vaccinated or not. 

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