Orange County won’t enforce Gov. Newsom’s statewide mask mandate

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Governor Gavin Newsom mandated that all Californians wear a mask outside of their homes. The vast majority of people in medical science say doing that can slow the spread of COVID-19. But there are plenty of people who don’t believe that and/or they believe you can’t force people to wear something they don’t want to wear. 

In Orange County, Sheriff Don Barnes says he won’t enforce the order. Barnes said in a statement, "It is each person's responsibility to wear a face covering and follow other recommended safeguards, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. It is not law enforcement's responsibility to enforce it."

Gustavo Arellano, features writer for the LA Times Metro desk, says he understands where Barnes is coming from. 

“He’s busy. He just had former deputies plead guilty in an evidence booking scandal. He had another investigator plead guilty to falsifying the record so one of his former roommates could try to apply into the academy. So Barnes is too busy with his own department to try to be mandating people to wear masks,” Arellano says. 

Arellano explains that Newsom issued the mandate without including penalties for those who don’t follow it. 

“Until Newsom says, ‘Hey I'm going to crack down on you,’ nothing is going to happen. And Barnes can just continue with his political posturing over this,” Arellano says.