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LA sheriff won’t enforce new lockdown orders for California businesses: report

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
December 04, 2020

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reportedly said he would not require his deputies to enforce California’s newest lockdown order against businesses recently implemented by Governor Gavin Newsom and state health officials.

Fox LA’s Bill Melugin tweeted that the sheriff only found out about the latest orders from the governor’s press conference, adding that there was no coordination with law enforcement. Villanueva said the lack of communication was a point of concern for police who are expected to enforce the orders.

“I want to stay away from business that are trying to comply, they bent over backwards to modify their operations to conform to these orders and then they have the rug yanked out from under them, that’s a disservice, I don’t want to make them more miserable,” the sheriff allegedly told Melugin.

Melugin also tweeted that the sheriff said he thinks the Lakers and Dodgers celebrations, as well as Thanksgiving, contributed to the recent surges, adding that surges earlier this year were likely linked to the civil unrest that occurred, not restaurants.

The LA County Sheriff’s Office isn’t alone — the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department reportedly told Melugin that they do not intend to respond to complaints regarding the health orders.

“Anyone calling to complain will be referred to an appropriate department to be addressed on a case by case basis,” the sheriff stated according to Melugin’s tweet.

While the Orange County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released a statement on the new orders, the office told Melugin to refer to their previous statement in which they said they would not enforce Newsom’s curfew.

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom’s website stated that a new stay-at-home order had been issued by California health officials, to be “triggered if Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity drops below 15 percent in a given region.”

“Residents are required to stay at home as much as possible and minimize mixing to reduce unnecessary exposure, while still being able to do important things like go to the doctor, buy groceries, pick up take out, go on a hike, or worship outdoors,” the website stated. “K-12 schools that are already open can remain open and retailers can operate indoors at no more than 20 percent capacity to reduce exposure risk. The public health order takes effect at 12:59 p.m. on December 5. Thereafter, if a region falls below the 15 percent ICU threshold, it will have 24 hours to implement the Stay at Home Order.”

“Regions will remain in the Regional Stay at Home Order status for at least three weeks once triggered,” the governor’s office warned. “Counties are eligible to come off the Regional Stay at Home Order after three weeks if their hospital ICU capacity projected four weeks out reaches 15 percent.”

Governor Newsom, who recently apologized for dining indoors at a Napa Valley restaurant with people from other households without wearing any masks, called the recent orders a response to a “tipping point in our fight against the virus,” Los Angeles Times reported.

“We need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,” Newsom said. “By invoking a Stay at Home Order for regions where ICU capacity falls below 15 percent, we can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our health care system. I’m clear-eyed that this is hard on all of us — especially our small businesses who are struggling to get by. That’s why we leaned in to help our small business owners with new grants and tax relief to help us get through this month. If we stay home as much as possible, and wear masks when we have to go to the doctor, shop for groceries or go for a hike, California can come out of this in a way that saves lives and puts us on a path toward economic recovery.”