Los Angeles County health officials announced this week that they were reintroducing mandatory indoor facemasks, citing a sudden increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19, despite the large proportion of people who have been vaccinated. However, the county sheriff, Alex Villanueva, confirmed that he would not allow the mandate to be enforced. 

As of Saturday, July 17, Los Angeles County re-implemented a regulation requiring residents to wear masks while indoors, regardless of each citizen’s vaccination status. 

After heavy restrictions were imposed a few months ago, masks were only recommended for use indoors but not mandated as a legal requirement until last week. However, the new mandate requires residents to again wear the mask when entering any indoor public establishment, including retail stores, supermarkets, bars, clubs, restaurants, and workplaces, Fox News reported.

“We’re not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late, given what we’re seeing,” L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a virtual briefing with reporters. 

For the time being, no measures were announced that would force business owners to close their doors, as happened in the past, but their customers will not be able to enter without wearing a face mask.

The measure was not well received by certain sectors of the population, which understand the mandatory use of masks as a kind of symbolic imagery to convey fear and alertness rather than as an effective tool to combat the CCP Virus (COVID).

So much so that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva himself has confirmed that he will not allow his department to enforce Newsom’s new mask mandate that goes into effect this weekend.

In a public statement, Villanueva said that forcing those who are vaccinated or have already contracted the virus to wear masks indoors “is not supported by science and contradicts guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” which several months ago already eliminated the requirement to wear them.

Villanueva warned in the statement that while it is true that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has the authority to enforce the controversial regulation, it will not have the support of his department to control and demand its use by the population.

“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance,” he said. “We encourage the DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.”

It is unclear at this time how long health officials plan to keep the regulation in place, but it is understood that it will initially continue at least until a further substantial reduction in cases.

In parallel to the announcement of the mask requirement, the Department of Public Health said that the positivity rate for the CCP Virus increased by 700% in one month, from 0.5% to 3.7%. This considerable increase in the number of infected people is yet another argument in favor of those who do not wish to take the vaccine because of distrust of its possible side effects and its ineffectiveness in preventing the virus.