Mark Essick, a sheriff in Sonoma County, said on Thursday that he would stop enforcing the district’s protection order on June 1, believing the previous and current orders “severely limit our freedoms.”
In a Facebook post, Essick said that the county’s initial and subsequent health mandates since the coronavirus pandemic began were “far more restrictive” than those in neighboring counties and nationwide mandates.
He said the county, which reported 531 coronavirus cases and 4 deaths by Thursday, had dramatically increased its testing capacity, showing that the infection rate was “under control and declining”. District officials have conducted 23,362 coronavirus tests, according to the district.
“However, we continue to see successive public health regulations that contain inconsistent restrictions on business and personal activities without explanation,”
The sheriff’s announcement came the same week that the Sonoma County health official said she would hold back the reopening of some companies due to the recent increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Dr. Sundari Mase, the county health official, said on Wednesday that she would not allow retail stores, salons, and places of worship to reopen, although the county had allowed it to do so due to an increase in new cases, partly related to workplace transmission.
County supervisory authority Shirlee Zane told The Chronicle that she and her colleagues were “confused” by Essick’s decision to stop enforcement. He emailed the board just a few minutes in advance before posting his plan in a Facebook post.
“It’s really annoying for those of us who have worked so hard on it,” said Zane. “I really want to ask him what motivated him and why he didn’t speak to us. We have to talk about what is in the best interest of our community. Elected officials, we have to compromise, put our ego aside and make decisions, that are in the best interest of the people we represent. “
Zane said that when officials face a pandemic that has killed 100,000 people in the United States, city and law enforcement officials must enforce public health regulations and “do everything possible to protect every life.”
Susan Gorin, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, told The Chronicle that she had been in contact with the County Director of Health Services and Mase about the sheriff’s announcement.
“(Essick) has no contact with (Mase). He has not contacted her to request data or ask for a conversation, ”said Gorin. “The board absolutely supports their orders and it is disappointing that the sheriff does not support this order. I find that irresponsible.”
Gorin said regulators are planning to ask Essick to attend the Tuesday board meeting so they can “have a public discussion and hopefully reach some agreement on the need for an agreement to protect our public health.”
As of June 1, Essick said, he will instruct all MPs to stop enforcing the county’s public health regulations. As part of these new guidelines, Essick instructed the Sheriff Office detention center to refuse to arrest people whose only booking fee is to violate the county public health regulations.
Violations that are reported to the Sheriff’s Office will be assessed on a case-by-case basis using California guidelines. Essick said MEPs will focus on educating residents to reduce the risk and spread of the coronavirus when interacting with people in the community.
In the farewell sentences of his Facebook post to the county’s residents, Essick said that his decision to stop enforcing the county’s public health regulations does not affect how other law enforcement agencies operate in Sonoma County.
In a Facebook post on Thursday evening, Santa Rosa’s chief of police, Rainer Navarro, said he would “continue to support the health care professional, who is the expert and leads a safe, strategic, and data-driven process for reopening.”
Navarro said the police, in cooperation with the city attorney, prosecutor, and Mase, will continue to respond to health regulations violations to “ensure that we do our part to make our community as safe as possible.”
“Our process primarily consists of educating and informing our community about health regulations. If violations persist, we will issue verbal and written warnings and, as a last resort, enforce the law if necessary, ”said Navarro. “We ask our community to continue voluntarily adhering to the order.”