Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says her deputies will not enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom’s face covering requirement.
“Not only do we not have the resources, I don’t think that’s appropriate,” Mims told GV Wire℠ by phone on Monday morning.
6,000 Square Miles to Cover
Mims says she has 20 deputies available at any given time to cover 6,000 square miles of the county. She went over some of the department’s most recent calls for service.
“So we’ve got increasing violence in San Joaquin,” said Mims. “We had a domestic violence call in Auberry where the victim was stabbed several times in the back.”
Probing Medical Questions
“How many deputies are you going to use to ask every individual not wearing a mask if they’re hard of hearing, if they’re mentally ill, do they have asthma, or do they have a medical condition?” Mims said.
Mims is worried her deputies will have to ask probing medical questions to determine if someone falls into the exempt category laid out by the governor’s order.
Face Covering Exemptions
According to the State order, the following individuals are exempt from wearing a face-covering:
- Persons age 2 years or under. These very young children must not wear a face-covering because of the risk of suffocation.
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
- Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
- Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
- Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face-covering is necessary to perform the service.
- Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.
- Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.
- Persons who are incarcerated. Prisons and jails, as part of their mitigation plans, will have specific guidance on the wearing of face coverings or masks for both inmates and staff.
Other Sheriff’s Offices
KTLA television reports that sheriffs in Orange, Sacramento, Tulare, and Calaveras counties will not enforce the order.
Like Mims, the other sheriffs cite the minor nature of the offense or a lack of resources.
“It is each person’s responsibility to wear a face covering, and follow other recommended safeguards, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19; it is not law enforcement’s responsibility to enforce it,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes told KTLA.
State Order Document
You can read the state mask order below.