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Face Coverings Now Mandatory In Orange County, But Sheriff Don Barnes Says He Is Not 'The Mask Police'

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County public health officials have quietly made face coverings mandatory, but Sheriff Don Barnes says he and his deputies are "not the mask police."

In an order that went into effect Saturday, OC Public Health made cloth face-coverings a requirement for all residents and visitors in public places, while visiting businesses, at work, or if unable to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from people who are not of their households.

The updated public health order comes as Orange County clears the way for reopening retail stores, dining rooms and personal services like hair salons. Previously, Orange County had mandated masks only for workers who interact with the public.

But Sheriff Don Barnes has come up against the new order strongly, telling the OC Board of Supervisors he has no intention of enforcing the order.

"We are not the mask police — nor do I intend to be the mask police," Barnes told the board at their meeting Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Across the country, masks have become the latest symbol in the wider culture wars, with President Trump leading his supporters in refusing to wear a mask at public events. The CDC has recommended face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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