Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he won't enforce a renewed indoor mask mandate in his county because the new orders aren't "backed by science" and his department doesn't have the manpower or the money to take part.
“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, reports The Hill.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued another indoor mask mandate Thursday because COVID numbers are once again climbing. Villanueva said the agency has the right to set the rule, but "the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance.”
Instead, he said his department is encouraging the DPH to work with the county's Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that "are both achievable and supported by science."
The DHS's new mandate applies to everyone, vaccinated or not, saying that the county's COVID cases have experienced a seven-fold increase between the county's reopening in June 15 through Thursday.
Department data shows the county experienced 210 new cases of COVID-19 on June 15, but on Thursday recorded its highest number of new cases, or 1,537, the highest number since March.
The renewed mandate will go into effect just before midnight Saturday, just under a month since the county lifted its earlier mandate.
The new orders come while areas in the United States where vaccination rates are low are seeing COVID cases surge because of the Delta variant that was initially discovered in India.
Overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56% of the total U.S. population has had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 48% are fully vaccinated.
Friday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky maintained that the agency likely won't change its masking recommendations but still said that local policymakers in areas experiencing high case rates "might consider whether masking at that point would be something that would be helpful for their community until they scale up their vaccination rates."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.