SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County public health officials have quietly made face coverings mandatory, but Sheriff Don Barnes says he and his deputies are “not the mask police.”

In an order that went into effect Saturday, OC Public Health made cloth face-coverings a requirement for all residents and visitors in public places, while visiting businesses, at work, or if unable to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from people who are not of their households.

The updated public health order comes as Orange County clears the way for reopening retail stores, dining rooms and personal services like hair salons. Previously, Orange County had mandated masks only for workers who interact with the public.

But Sheriff Don Barnes has come up against the new order strongly, telling the OC Board of Supervisors he has no intention of enforcing the order.

“We are not the mask police — nor do I intend to be the mask police,” Barnes told the board at their meeting Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Across the country, masks have become the latest symbol in the wider culture wars, with President Trump leading his supporters in refusing to wear a mask at public events. The CDC has recommended face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Comments (5)
  1. Brian says:

    Typical Orange County –particularly, south county. full of arrogant, self-centered jerks…not surprising, i expect nothing less. They still think this is all about them and not about protecting others and our healthcare workers. It’s not much to ask. Wear a fricken mask, help stop the spread and then maybe most of us can get back to work (before we’re laid off for good)–and restore the economy for YOU and –and then we can stop inconveniencing YOU. Maybe they’ll understand if you put it to them that way?

  2. Don Baker says:

    A healthy person wearing a mask in public is very unhealthful. The mask will quickly become a breeding ground for pathogens by touching it along with bacteria cultivation from the warm and moist environment from your breath. Airborne bacteria and other pathogens are then breathed back into your lungs. Masks also prevent normal oxygenation by the body because of the carbon dioxide back pressure displacing the introduction of fresh air. Needless to say, I won’t be patronizing a business that requires wearing one.

  3. JM Sebastian says:

    Thankfully we have some intelligent elected officials in OC like Sheriff Barnes. We need more like him.

  4. Glen says:

    These comments show the real problem and divide in our country today. No one LIKES wearing a mask, and not a single person i know wears one for political reasons. Facts matter, science matters. If wearing a mask will help us get back to normal faster then so be it. Do it. Every opinion and view that distracts from that is unproductive and divides us further. A country divided cannot stand and certainly will not get through this quickly.

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