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Signs at businesses all over Malibu warn customers to wear masks when indoors — even if the customers are fully vaccinated.
But what happens if no one is around to enforce the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s reinstated order on face coverings?
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the county's top law enforcement official and, by virtue of a contract with the city, Malibu’s as well, isn’t about to have his deputies get involved here or elsewhere.
“Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines,” Villanueva said in a statement prior to the mask-up order taking effect over the weekend.
Indeed, in May, before the Delta variant of COVID-19 was raging, the CDC updated its guidance to say that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks indoors or outdoors and they need not socially distance.
Those who should wear a mask indoors, according to the CDC, are people over 2 who are not yet vaccinated.
Villanueva’s statement acknowledges the Department of Public Health’s authority to enforce its new order.
“But the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance,” Villanueva says.
The sheriff ends his message to the public with this: “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.”