Sonoma County sheriff says his agency will stop enforcing coronavirus public health orders


Sonoma County’s top law enforcement official announced this week that his agency will no longer enforce the county’s public health order, saying the mandate has placed inconsistent restrictions on businesses and public activities without explanation.

Sheriff Mark Essick wrote Thursday in a post on Facebook that effective Monday, he’s directing all Sheriff’s Office staff to stop enforcing the local health order, which he contends has “placed significant restrictions on our freedoms” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Reports of violations, when brought to our attention, will be evaluated against the California State guidelines on a case-by-case basis,” he wrote. “Where appropriate, the Sheriff’s Office will use public interactions as an opportunity to educate people on how to mitigate the risk and spread of the COVID-19 infection.”

He has also directed the Sheriff’s Office detention division to refuse to book individuals into the county jail whose sole offense is violating the county’s health order.

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