The Los Angeles County Sheriff says he will not enforce a new mandate requiring all residents to wear facemasks inside, saying the move is 'not backed by science'.
On Thursday, health officials in LA County announced that masks would be made mandatory in all indoor spaces amid a surge in new coronavirus cases.
But on Friday, Sheriff Alex Villanueva released a statement saying his officers would not be fining residents who do not comply with the order, as many are already vaccinated or have previously been infected with COVID-19.
Villanueva said the mandate 'is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.'
'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 in the statement, obtained by Fox News.
'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.'
Current CDC guidelines state: 'If you’ve been fully vaccinated you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations',
The new LA mask mandate - which comes into effect at 11.59pm on Saturday - will require people to wear the face covering at events and in all stores, restaurants, offices and gyms.
Officials decided to implement the order after more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases were clocked across LA County every day over the past week.
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