If you read the myriad of misleading online newspaper headlines in California you would be led to believe that Gov. Newsom’s new “order” that masks must be worn outdoors is an enforceable state law (see here, here, here, here, here). But where is the law? And if so, who is enforcing it?
That is the question that is being asked by Orange County citizen activist Peggy Hall. And on June 8, Hall and her organization TheHealthyAmerican.org (THA.org) got Orange County Public Health Director Dr. Nicole Quick to quickly resign her position rather than comply with their request to go before the County Supervisors and explain the legal basis for her assertion that wearing masks outdoors is mandatory. Hall’s video explaining her efforts in Orange County can be found here.
Quick alleged she left because of death threats. But the only confirmed threats were of a personal lawsuit against Quick to be filed by THA.org alleging civil rights violations and a protest at her home. Protestors gave out Quick’s home address but apparently only stated they would hold a callisthenic “workout session” on the public street in front of her home.
Even the Voice of OC wrote: “To make matters worse, Quick also faced horrible public information rollouts for just about every one of the health orders she issued during her short tenure as Public Health Officer during the pandemic.”
To prevent a possible Constitutional lawsuit, the County’s new public health officer quickly changed the wording of the order to read “strongly recommended” instead of “required”.
Masks Off in OC and Elsewhere
The Orange County Sheriff said he would not enforce the County’s public health “order”, or more accurately stated, “directive.”
In Riverside County the Sheriff has stated he won’t write tickets. In San Bernardino County, wearing a mask is “optional.” Ventura County reportedly has no mask recommendations or mandates. Alameda County only encourages citizens to wear masks. Even in virus-plagued Santa Clara County an “order” to wear masks on the Sheriff’s website could not be found. The County Health Department stated their directive was for “guidance only.”
One would think that wearing a mask to stop the alleged spread of coronavirus in a dentist office would be legally mandated. But even Cal-OSHA says their directive “is not a standard regulation and creates no new legal obligations.” While Cal-OSHA states that people “must wear face coverings,” it carefully claws back its wording to say it is only “guidance to help employers.”
The California Office of Administrative Law that determines whether laws passed by the legislature are valid, has no proposed law under review that would compel criminal or civil prosecution against those who refuse to wear masks.
Where is that Law?
Orange County does have a mask “requirement” for food and pharmacy workers. But businesses can refuse to serve customers who do not have masks or can grant some flexibility for those who have asthma or breathing difficulties. Most people don’t have difficulty with that.
But it begs the question why is a governmental mask mandate necessary in the first place? Businesses can be left to handle the situation to the comfort level of their customers. If you don’t like that business’s policy then you can shop elsewhere, that is unless government has shut down those alternative businesses. The hardware store in my community does not require masks and people are free to go to Home Depot.
Citizen pressure groups have ousted seven public health officials in California thus far who have abused their power in responding to the so-called virus epidemic. Hall says she and THA are bringing her unmasking efforts to other counties.
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- Citizen Power: Masks Off and Health Director Out in OC - June 19, 2020