Sonoma County sheriff criticizes county’s health order, says he won’t enforce it

Sonoma County sheriff criticizes county’s health order, says he won’t enforce it

Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said Thursday that he will stop enforcing the county’s shelter-in-place order on June 1 because he believes the past and current orders put “significant restrictions on our freedoms.” In a Facebook post, Essick said the county’s initial and subsequent health orders since the start of the coronavirus pandemic have been “far more restrictive” than guidelines in neighboring counties and in statewide orders. He said the county — which has reported 531 coronavirus cases and 4 deaths as of Thursday — has dramatically increased its testing capacity which he said has shown the infection rate is “under control and decreasing.” County officials have conducted 23,362 coronavirus tests, according to county data. “Yet we continue to see successive Public Health Orders that contain inconsistent restrictions on business and personal activities without explanation,” Essick wrote. “I can no longer in good conscience continue to enforce Sonoma County Public Health Orders, without explanation, that criminalize otherwise lawful business and personal behavior.” The sheriff's announcement came the same week that Sonoma County’s public health officer said she will hold off on allowing the reopening of some businesses because of a recent rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. County public health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said Wednesday that she will not allow in-store retail, salons and places of worship to reopen despite the county being permitted to do so because of a climb in new cases that were partially connected to workplace transmission. County Supervisor Shirlee Zane told The Chronicle that she and ...
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