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Mother Lode Sheriffs, Police Chiefs Weigh In On Mandatory Face Coverings

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Sonora, CA – Local law enforcement offices are clarifying their intentions about enforcing the new state mandate on face coverings to reduce COVID-19 infections..

As reported here, California Governor Gavin Newsom stated when announcing the order on Thursday, that there are too many people who are not wearing face coverings, putting at risk the progress being made to reopen businesses and the economy. State Public Health officials pointed to a growing body of scientific research that has shown people with no or few COVID-19 symptoms can still spread the disease. They stated that face coverings, combined with continued physical distancing and frequent hand washing practices will reduce the spread of COVID-19.

On Friday afternoon, Tuolumne County Sheriff Bill Pooley released a statement on his department’s stance on the order and intended actions. “Our position has always been to rely on education and we will continue with that same strategic direction,” Sheriff Pooley shares. “I am working closely with county health officials and state officials regarding the governor’s order.”

Continuing, he states, “I am encouraging community members to be respectful of others by wearing face coverings when appropriate, avoid large gatherings, take proper precautions, sanitize common surfaces, use proper hygiene, and practice social distancing. It is also important to remember each business will have its own policies which may require patrons to have face coverings prior to utilizing their facilities and/or services. I ask everyone to respect those requirements as an attempt to keep our community healthy and safe.”

Calaveras Sheriff Weighs In

Earlier Friday, Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio released a statement indicating that his office will not be enforcing the order by issuing citations or arresting anyone for not wearing a mask.

“We are not in the business of making criminals out of people who are not wearing a mask for medical reasons.” He added, “It is up to individuals and businesses to enforce/comply with the order and a business can enforce the order or ask the person to leave.” If a person refuses to leave the premises, Sheriff DiBasilio says the matter will be separately addressed as a trespass issue.

Sonora Police officials had not released a statement as of Friday afternoon. As reported here, Angels Camp Police indicated Thursday they are referring reports of people and businesses not complying with the order in Calaveras County including the City to the Calaveras County COVID-19 Community Call Center at 209 754-2896.

They reiterate that members of the public who do not wear a mask must comply when they visit a business that requires customers to don masks or leave. Businesses can report issues with customers who refuse to leave by calling the department’s non-emergency number at 209 736-2567 and an officer will be dispatched. Police officials further instruct businesses who are experiencing an issue of a customer becoming disruptive or violent to call 911.

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