County officials announced last week all Los Angeles residents, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks indoors because of the COVID-19 delta variant.
Villanueva, however, said there is no scientific justification for forcing vaccinated adults to continue following coronavirus restrictions.
“Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines,” Villanueva said on Friday.
The CDC guidance states fully vaccinated adults can resume normal activities without wearing a mask unless otherwise instructed by travel authorities, businesses or employers.
Villanueva added deputies would not “expend our limited resources” to enforce the mask mandate, noting the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is already “underfunded/defunded.”
“We encourage the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science,” he said.
Other Los Angeles officials have also raised concerns about the mandate. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger argued the order creates additional “confusion and disagreement.”
I am concerned by rising cases, but I don’t believe the mask mandate will help efforts to stress vaccine efficacy and compel unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated. LA County should remain aligned with the State instead of creating confusion and disagreement at the local level.
— Supervisor Kathryn Barger (@kathrynbarger) July 17, 2021
President Joe Biden’s surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, praised LA for reintroducing the mask mandate and claimed it is necessary.
“In areas where there are low numbers of vaccinated people, or where cases are rising, it’s very reasonable for counties to take more mitigation measures like the mask rules you see coming out in LA, and I anticipate that will happen in other parts of the country,” he told ABC News.