LA County sheriff vows to limit enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions

By Jake Dima

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reportedly said he will not target businesses and will instead focus on “super spreader” events amid a new wave of coronavirus regulations in his state, according to local reporter Bill Melugin.

Democratic LA Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an order banning “all [unnecessary] travel, including, without limitation, travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit” and mandated residents stay at home as cases skyrocket. Similarly, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued statewide COVID-19 rules with a similar tone that would take effect for three weeks if intensive care unit beds drop below 15% availability in certain localities, according to the New York Times.

Villaneuva, who said the COVID-19 regulations were formed without consulting law enforcement authorities, vowed to “stay away from business” who have already been battered by previous rules, he told Melugin, a reporter for Fox Los Angeles.

“I want to stay away from business [sic] that are trying to comply,” the sheriff told Melugin. “They bent over backwards to modify their operations to conform to these orders and then they have the rug yanked out from under them. That’s a disservice. I don’t want to make them more miserable.”

The law enforcement boss also insisted that early spread within his jurisdiction was from protests and riots that followed the death of George Floyd in May, according to Melugin. He added that the Lakers and Dodgers victory celebrations earlier in the year also contributed to the outbreak in conjunction with Thanksgiving, but businesses and restaurants played a limited role in the surging cases in his eyes, he told the local reporter.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department in addition to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department have vowed to limit enforcement of Newsom’s statewide order, according to Melugin.

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