Some California Sheriffs Not Planning to Enforce New Orders

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In an announcement on Thursday afternoon, California governor Gavin Newsom announced that California will once more be under a strict lockdown until Coronavirus numbers see a significant decrease. However, it was later announced on Friday, that in Los Angeles, the lockdown would not be enforced by sheriff officers.

The order announced on Thursday officially went into effect on Saturday, December 5th and is acting as a response to California’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases. When addressing the order in a Thursday press conference Newsom stated, “We want to mitigate mixing, period. Full stop.”

Under the order, the state will be divided into five distinct regions. Any region displaying less than 15% capacity in their ICUs (intensive care units) will be subject to restrictions. The five regions are Northern California, the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, the San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California. They are all currently experiencing capacity below 30%, with Northern California displaying 18.6%, the Bay Area displaying 25.4%, Greater Sacramento displaying 22%, the San Joaquin Valley displaying 19.7%, and Southern California showing 20.6%. 

With a projected decrease in availability in all these regions predicted by the California Department of Public Health, it is likely they will soon experience lockdown. If forced into lockdown, according to the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, the region will have to stay in lockdown for a minimum of 3 weeks, and will shut down sectors, including indoor and outdoor playgrounds, indoor recreational facilities, hair salons and barbershops, personal care services, museums, zoos, aquariums, movie theaters, and wineries. Other sectors, such as outdoor recreational facilities, shopping centers, hotels and lodging, and restaurants will be allowed open, but with strict restrictions.

Speaking to FOX 11’s Bill Melugin, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva insisted that the enforcement of health related policies on businesses was solely the business of the health department, and that L.A. County Sheriffs would be sticking towards addressing superspreader events. 

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayum issued the following statement regarding Gov. Newsom’s order: “Our approach to enforcement of the continuously evolving health orders has not changed from the onset of the pandemic. Our approach is one of educating the public of the health orders and encouraging compliance with them. Enforcement has always been an option for our staff to use with considerable discretion. However, our primary goal is to seek voluntary compliance whenever possible.”

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department also stated that they had no intent in using deputies to enforce Newsom’s order. While they will, “continue to partner with our communities and deliver the law enforcement services they deserve,” they too plan to delegate the lockdown’s enforcement to the health department.