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San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura County Sheriffs Join OC Sheriff, Decline To Enforce COVID Curfew

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) - After announcing Orange County would not be enforcing Gov. Gavin Newsom stay-at-home order, Sheriff Don Barnes said Friday the order is "a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement", echoing the statements of several other county sheriffs across Southern California.

In a statement, Barnes said: "The Governor's latest health orders have created a significant amount of uncertainty in the community regarding the feasibility and constitutionality of enforcing modified stay-at-home orders.

"Let me be clear- this is a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement. Orange County Sheriff's deputies will not be dispatched to, or respond to, calls for service to enforce compliance with face coverings, social gatherings, or stay-at-home orders only. Deputies will respond to calls for potential criminal behavior and for the protection of life or property."

California Counties Move to Purple Tier
LAGUNA BEACH, CA - NOVEMBER 16: A sign tells visitors to Forest Avenue to wear a mask in Laguna Beach, CA, on Monday, November 16, 2020. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced California would hit the "u201cemergency brake"u201d on economic activity after another surge of coronavirus sweeps over the state and Orange County is returning to the most restrictive purple tier. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

On Thursday, Barnes responded to Newsom's executive order by saying the department was "currently assessing the action by the Governor" and that "deputies will not be responding to requests for face-coverings or social-gatherings enforcement."

"I don't think it's necessary to have police come at you like that," said Anaheim resident Natalie Fuentes."

The public health order is set to take effect Nov. 21 at 10 p.m.

Adela Villapando, an Orange resident, is hosting a Friendsgiving Saturday night.

"I know my friends that are coming over.. it's just a small little circle," she said. "I know they're taking it seriously so they'll be home leaving early."

And some, like Costa Mesa resident Ed Salcedo, said they are accepting of enforcement.

I'm okay with it," he said Friday. "It's probably necessary with increased COVID cases."

Barnes isn't the only California sheriff pushing back against the order.

Sheriffs in San Bernardino, Ventura, and Riverside counties have said they will decline to enforce the curfew order.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has told reporters the department will seek to educate the public, but that no arrests related to the order will be made.

In Northern California, sheriffs in Sacramento, Fresno, Merced, and other counties have also signaled they will not be enforcing the curfew.

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