“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 (CDC) guidelines,” Villanueva said. “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.”
Villanueva’s statement arrives just a day after L.A. county public health officials announced it would reimpose its mask mandate amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases tied to the highly contagious Delta variant.
“We’re requiring masking for everyone while indoors at public settings & businesses, regardless of vaccination status so that we can stop the increased level of transmission we’re seeing,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in press release Thursday. “Because of this rapid rise, as well as the increasing presence of the more easily transmitted Delta variant of the virus, and the millions of people potentially at risk of infection, together we must reduce our risk of infection and our risk for potentially infecting others.”
The announcement follows six straight days of more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in Los Angeles County, with nearly 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, up 275 from the week before.