Update 3:35 p.m., 6/19/20: Tuolumne County Sheriff Bill Pooley issued the following statement in regards to facemask enforcement:
Update 1:22 p.m., 6/19/20: Two additional COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Valley Springs, bringing the total count in Calaveras County to 28.
Facemasks are now required in public settings statewide, but Calaveras County law enforcement won’t be enforcing the new rule.
“The Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing the order by issuing citations or arresting anyone,” Sheriff Rick DiBasilio said in a Thursday Facebook post. “We are not in the business of making criminals out of people who are not wearing a masks [sic] for medical reasons etc. 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 the person refuses to leave the business, we will address the trespass issue separately.”
The Angels Camp Police Department (ACPD) echoed the sheriff, stating on Friday that they will not be enforcing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order, though those who are asked by a business to wear a mask or leave the premises “must comply with their request.”
Local law enforcement will forward all mask compliance complaints to the Calaveras County COVID-19 Community Call Center, according to the ACPD. Businesses dealing with non-emergency situations are urged to call the police department or sheriff’s office directly, and call 911 if the situation becomes disruptive or violent.
In Amador County, Undersheriff Gary Redman instructed employees not to respond to complaints of individuals not wearing masks, due to the absence of a law requiring their use.
“There are no enforcement penalties for individuals who choose not to wear masks,” Redman reportedly stated in an email.
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment regarding mask enforcement.
Calaveras County Public Health confirmed Friday that local health officials are currently following the state’s guidance regarding face masks. The guidance, issued by the state Department of Public Health, does not mention a means of enforcing the new rule within each of California’s 58 counties.
Newsom has justified his June 18 order by citing rising COVID-19 case numbers throughout the state.
"Our numbers are going up, not going down. Hospitalization numbers are just starting to creep back up, and I'm very concerned by what we're seeing," Newsom told Los Angeles' ABC7.
More than 165,000 cases have been reported in California, with more than 5,300 related deaths. Nearly half of those cases have occurred in Los Angeles County.
In Calaveras County, confirmed case numbers spiked in recent weeks but have hovered at 26 since June 12. There have been no reported deaths, and 15 of the total cases have since recovered, according to the local health department.