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Coronavirus in California: Orange County Sheriff says his department won't enforce mask order

Valarie Espinoza, Copyright 2020

A California sheriff is vowing that his department will look the other way when it comes to enforcing a health order asking residents to wear face coverings in public during the coronavirus outbreak.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes announced his stance Tuesday while speaking to its board of supervisors. The county, like others around the U.S., recently passed an order requiring its residents to put on masks in places where they can’t stay at least 6 feet apart, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“We are not the mask police -- nor do I intend to be the mask police,” Barnes said. “I think what we have seen repeatedly throughout the community is Orange County residents acting responsibly.”

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes says his department will not be the 'mask police.' (MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Barnes went on to say that the locals are “adults,” and because of that, “they can take the protective measures as they see fit.”

“We have not dealt with these issues through enforcement, and I will direct my staff not to direct any enforcement toward the… mask requirement,” he added, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Orange County, as of Tuesday, has seen 5,578 coronavirus infections among its residents.

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