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LA Orders All Beaches Closed July 4 Weekend, But LA Sheriff Department Won’t Enforce Order

TOPLINE

All Los Angeles County beaches, piers, access points and bike paths will be closed for the Fourth of July weekend, county officials announced Monday; shortly thereafter, in what is the latest instance of U.S. law enforcement officials resisting statewide mandates, an L.A. county sheriff reportedly announced his department won’t enforce the closure order.

KEY FACTS

Early Monday, Los Angeles reported 2,903 new cases of the coronavirus, the single largest one-day tally since the start of the pandemic, as the total number of infections in L.A. has now topped 100,000.

Los Angeles County health officials said without a dramatic reversal in public behavior to control the virus, “we will see a lot more death.”

Officials estimate that, on average, one in every 140 people in Los Angeles is infected with Covid-19, and with test results now available for more than 1 million individuals, 9% are testing positive.

Thus, the county’s public health department said Monday that they were closing beaches to prevent “dangerous crowding that results in the spread of deadly Covid-19.”

The order makes it illegal to trespass and is punishable by law to include, but not limited to, a $1,000 fine.

However, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, in the most recent occurrence of the sheriff clashing with county supervisors, said Monday evening that his department wasn’t consulted on the closure order, and they will only enforce parking lots and traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Key Background:

Instances of local law enforcement officials resisting recently enacted regulations have surged of late. Last Thursday, three sheriffs in North Carolina declared that they would not enforce Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s statewide mask mandate despite a growing number of coronavirus cases. “If you choose to wear a mask, then do so,” Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said. “If you choose not, then don’t… We will not be issuing citations to individuals for not wearing a mask.” In Washington, a Republican sheriff told residents “don’t be a sheep” in response to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s order last Tuesday that residents must wear face coverings in public. Another sheriff in the southern part of Washington state called Inslee an “idiot” who was “violating people’s constitutional rights.” At least five sheriff’s departments in California have said they won’t enforce mask mandates. Last month, two Arizona county sheriffs said they would not enforce a stay-at-home order imposed by Democratic Gov. Doug Ducey. 

Tangent:

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted Sunday that the state is ordering bars to close in seven counties, and recommending bars close in eight more, as the state approaches 217,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths

Critical Quote:

“Closing the beaches and prohibiting fireworks displays during this important summer holiday weekend was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it’s the responsible decision to protect public health and protect our residents from a deadly virus,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health. “The Fourth of July holiday weekend typically means large crowds and gatherings to celebrate, a recipe for increased transmission of COVID-19.” 

Further Reading:

Los Angeles County closes beaches for July 4 weekend, citing coronavirus risk (CBS News) 

Sheriffs Resist Washington State’s Mask Mandate: ‘Don’t Be A Sheep’ (Forbes) 

L.A. County Beaches Closed for Fourth of July Weekend (NBC)

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