Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes issued a statement Thursday night declaring that he will not abide by California Governor Gavin Newsom's stay at home order.
"[The] Orange County Sheriff's Department has taken an education-first approach with regard to the public health order," the statement reads. "[Deputies] will not be responding to requests for face coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement."
The Sheriff justified his statement on the basis that his department needs "to have deputies available for emergency calls for services."
California Governor Gavin Newsom instituted a stay at home order in all counties deemed to be high risk for coronavirus, which includes the vast majority of the state's residents. The order places a curfew between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly suggested that more restrictions may be imposed if the spread of coronavirus is not contained. “We may need to take more stringent actions if we are unable to flatten the curve quickly," he said. "Taking these hard, temporary actions now could help prevent future shutdowns.”
Newsom has received criticism for violating his own health recommendations and orders. It was revealed on Thursday that Newsom attended an expensive restaurant in Napa, California earlier in November to celebrate the birthday of a lobbyist with no mask-wearing or social distancing present.