Sacramento Sheriff's Office Won't Enforce California Coronavirus Mask Order

The Sacramento County sheriff released a statement Friday saying his office will not enforce California Governor Gavin Newsom's new face mask requirement.

"The Sheriff's Office recommends that everyone continue exercising safe practices, including wearing masks pursuant to the Governor's recommendation, especially around those in high-risk groups," Sheriff Scott Jones' office said in the 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," the sheriff's office said.

"Rather, we will continue to operate in an educational capacity in partnership with the County Health Office. As for the Sheriff's Office and its employees, we will comply with the Governor's mask recommendations to the extent feasible," the sheriff's office said.

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Newsweek reached out to Jones' office for further comment, but they did not respond back in time for publication.

Newsom released a tweet Thursday indicating that state residents must wear face coverings both in public indoor and outdoor spaces, with limited exceptions. The governor reiterated the new requirement in a tweet Friday, after seeing that many were not adhering to it.

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"REMINDER: CA, you are now REQUIRED to wear a mask in public spaces. 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," Newsom said in the tweet.

The new face mask requirement was implemented after California saw a surge in new cases in recent days. After seeing a reported 2,108 new confirmed coronavirus cases Monday, the count more than doubled on Thursday to 4,137 new cases. Deaths also increased in that time period from 32 COVID-19 related deaths Monday to 70 deaths Thursday.

The mandate states "the use of face coverings by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing, and/or sneezing, as well as reinforce physical distancing," though it did not outline any consequences for those who fail to adhere to the mandate.

California has now seen a total of 165,416 total cases and 5,360 deaths attributed to the disease since the start of the pandemic, according to the state's health department. Sacramento County has seen 1,938 cases, with 49 new cases reported Thursday.

Newsweek reached out to Newsom's office for comment on the Sacramento County Sheriff's office, but did get a response in time for publication.

Sheriff Scott Jones
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones speaks during a news conference on April 25, 2018 in Sacramento, California. The sheriff's office released a statement saying they will not enforce Governor Gavin Newsom's new mask requirement. Justin Sullivan/Getty
Sacramento Sheriff's Office Won't Enforce California Coronavirus Mask Order | U.S.