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These California sheriff’s departments say they won’t enforce statewide face mask order


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Governor Gavin Newsom last week issued a statewide mandate requiring all Californians to wear face masks whenever outside the home in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

California is part of a group of nearly two dozen states reporting an uptick in new reported coronavirus cases compared to the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Newsom said in a statement. “They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.”

Despite this increase in cases, there are at least a handful of sheriff’s departments in the state that say they won’t enforce the face mask order, with some citing the “minor nature of the offense” or “a lack of resources,” CNN reports.

The five sheriff’s departments are located in Calaveras, Fresno, Orange, Tulare, and Sacramento counties, according to CNN.

Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said one of the reasons why mask wearing may have become so controversial is because of the messy, early messaging.

For weeks after cases were first identified in the U.S., the CDC and state public health officials warned against face masks for the general public.

“In the very early days, people didn’t want to run out of masks, and that was not a ridiculous idea in March,” as shortages of protective equipment for health care workers became a top concern, he said. “But the messaging was too weak and inconsistent that some people took that to believe masks aren’t necessary.”

Other states with mask orders include New York, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Delaware and Maryland.

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