Several sheriff’s offices in Southern California have warned Governor Gavin Newsom that they will not strictly enforce the new house arrest order, which is expected to be introduced throughout the state.
The new stringent order will result in the closure of non-essential businesses such as hair salons, movie theaters and other indoor recreation facilities. Restaurants will only be able to serve take-away food, outdoor dining will also be banned, and retail outlets will be operating at 20 percent capacity.
According to Newsom, the “stay-at-home” order is necessary because the State of California is currently at a “turning point” in the fight against the virus.
Newsom announced on Thursday that the State of California will be divided into five sections and that all counties within that area will follow the same coronavirus guidelines. The new order will be triggered when ICU bed availability in a region drops below 15 percent.
In Southern California, ICU bed availability currently stands at about 20.6 percent, with Newsom warning that the area is expected to reach the trigger point on Saturday. Northern California, the greater Sacramento area and the San Joaquin Valley are expected to follow suit.
Newsom’s new order officially takes effect at 13:00 on Saturday, December 5. Once an area falls below the 15 percent threshold, it will have 24 hours to make the necessary arrangements.
In a conversation with Fox 11, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his deputies will spare no effort to punish companies already severely affected by the pandemic.
“I want to stay away from companies that are trying to comply with the regulations as much as possible,” Villanueva said.
“They have bent over backwards to change their entire operation to comply with these current health laws, and then the ground is pulled out from under their feet. This is a disservice, so I don’t want to make their lives even harder”.
Villanueva added that the LASD will instead focus on events with a wide reach and large groups of people gathering together.
Last month, several sheriff’s departments in California said they would not enforce a 10:00 to 5:00 curfew, previously imposed by Newsom in dozens of counties.
With regard to the recent COVID 19 order, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said the department’s approach to enforcing “ever-evolving health regulations” had not changed since the pandemic began.
“Our approach is to educate the public about the health regulations and promote compliance,” Ayub told FOX 11 in a statement.
“Enforcement has always been an option for our employees, which they could use with considerable discretion. However, our primary goal is to strive for voluntary compliance whenever possible.
Sheriffs from Orange and Riverside counties said their attitude has not changed either, with Sheriff Don Barnes stating in November that they “will not respond to requests for face cover or enforcement of social gatherings.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department added: “As we have been doing since we were first confronted with the difficulties of living and working together through this pandemic, our goal is to educate and achieve voluntary compliance.
“We will continue to work with our communities and provide the law enforcement services they deserve, with the health and safety of our employees and those we serve as our top priority.
Newsom was asked to comment.