Story at a glance:
- Many city and business officials are unhappy with the new mask mandate in Los Angeles County.
- Some cities want to form their own public health departments.
- Statewide, California has 195,571 active cases, a staggering daily increase of 5,349 new cases as of June 24; the bulk of cases are centered in Los Angeles County.
New COVID-19 cases continue to rise in California, prompting Los Angeles County officials to instate a new mask mandate regardless of vaccine status, drawing the ire of some residents and politicians.
The resistance to the mandates has caused some local leaders to call on the county officials to resign and some want to form their own public health departments, The Washington Post reports.
“The county cannot handle our current situation,” said Councilman Tony Wu of West Covina, a town of about 110,000 in the eastern part of the county. “We are absolutely not going to enforce nothing about this BS.”
The new delta variant has stirred up old tension between some government officials and business leaders and those who have municipal power to enforce limited social functions or shut down a city as big as LA.
“We have had enough of these policies! We demand that you stop this one-size-fits-all approach to health and health outcomes,” elected officials from a half-dozen towns including El Segundo, Torrance and Manhattan Beach wrote this week in a letter to their local county supervisor. “We implore you to modify this recent order, engage with us, and set a policy that better reflects the unique context of our area.”
In Los Angeles County, the largest county in the state, some cities have recently tried to launch their own health departments, including Torrance, West Covina and Beverly Hills.
“I’ve been advocating for Torrance to detach from L.A. County’s health department for months now,” said Torrance City Council member Aurelio Mattucci. “This latest mask mandate is really going to have a terrible effect on businesses, it’s really going to instill more fear in shoppers and patrons and that’s where I think we need to draw the line.”
Although Beverly Hills Mayor Robert Wunderlich thinks the new mask mandate is “justifiable” given rising cases, he asked, “Did they pick the optimal way? I’m not sure.”
His city is in the process of getting an expert to help officials understand setting up a public health department so the city can, as Wunderlich puts it, “have things in our own hands, for us to be in the position to be decision-makers about requirements and rules.”
As Changing America previously reported, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said that if need be, the state will pause its reopening in a bid to quell the coronavirus spread.
Citing the exponential growth of new coronavirus cases, Newsom said that further reopening will depend on progress made in reducing disease transmission.
“To the extent we do not see progress being made, and we’re not advancing the cause of public health and public safety, then we certainly reserve the right to put a pause in terms of advancing into the subsequent phase,” he said.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA