In a humiliating development for California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), numerous Californians and local law enforcement have announced that they will NOT enforce his new state-wide mask mandate.
Governor Newsom, who is now the subject of a third recall attempt, ordered Californians to wear masks when in public amid reports of rising coronavirus cases in the state late last week.
“REMINDER: CA, you are now REQUIRED to wear a mask in public spaces,” he tweeted on Thursday. “We’re seeing too many people with faces uncovered. Wearing a face covering is critical for keeping people safe and healthy, keeping businesses open and getting people back to work. Do your part. Wear your mask.”
As Fox News reported, his order was met with defiance by numerous local officials and sheriffs who openly stated they would not be enforcing the order — even in Sacramento, the state capitol.
Californians say ‘no’
Sheriffs in at least five counties, including Sacramento, Orange, Calaveras, Fresno, and Tulare, said they would not enforce mask usage. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones released the following statement:
“However, due to the minor nature of the offense, the potential for negative outcomes during enforcement encounters, and anticipating the various ways in which the order may be violated, it would be inappropriate for deputies to criminally enforce the Governor’s mandate. Accordingly, the Sheriff’s Office will not be doing so. Rather, we will continue to operate in an educational capacity in partnership with the County Health Office.”
Local police and politicians have also pushed back. The Placerville Police Department issued a statement saying that they would not be enforcing the order, and urged residents to “use common sense.” “Please do not call dispatch to report others not wearing masks. This is not a police issue,” they added.
One mayor told residents that Newsom does not even have the authority to make such a mandate. “As you go about your day today, KNOW there is NO LAW that Orders you to Wear a Mask,” Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum wrote in particularly fiery Facebook post. “Our Governor does NOT have that unilateral power to make such orders. While I know the HEADLINES over the last couple days have stated something entirely different, that is because journalism is dead.”
State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R), who has led the way in holding Newsom accountable on a number of issues, weighed in with a tweet, writing, “As to masks: (1) They do reduce transmission. (2) Gov. Newsom’s Order is a sweeping criminalization of personal conduct. (3) He needs to justify statewide coercion with evidence – costs vs. benefits – rather than a breezy comment about “too many people with faces uncovered.”
The mask issue
During the early days of the pandemic, masks were not recommended by key health officials. And by key, I mean top members of the coronavirus task force.
In fact, during a “60 Minutes” interview on March 8, Dr. Fauci explicitly said, “People should not be walking around with masks.” He pointed out the unintended consequences of touching and adjusting the masks and warned of the shortage of masks available for healthcare providers who were being exposed to infected patients. Watch:
Now, Dr. Fauci has completely reversed his stance on masks and the CDC has also started to recommend the wearing of masks. “It is always better to have a mask on than to not have a mask on, both for acquisition and for transmission,” Fauci said on Tuesday as he testified before Congress.
Meanwhile, a petition to recall Newsom is gathering steam, as Californians grow frustrated with the slow pace of reopening — not to mention the Democratic governor’s other unpopular decisions, such as his support for the job-killing bill AB5 and failure to address the homelessness crisis. Two previous recall attempts failed to gain enough signatures to make the ballot, but organizers say that the energy is more intense this time. California conservatives certainly hope so.