The Press Democrat:
Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick announced Thursday his department will no longer enforce the county’s stay-at-home public health order restricting some business activity and civic life, taking a dramatic stand in opposition to local measures aimed to curb the coronavirus pandemic — measures that Essick said were out of step with state rules.
Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase, he said, has not provided the data needed to defend her decision to keep restrictions on people’s civil liberties in place — ones that ask law enforcement officers to penalize what would otherwise be lawful behavior.
“The curve has been flattened; hospitals were not overrun with patients; we have dramatically increased testing which verified the infection rate in Sonoma County is under control and decreasing,” Essick said in a statement posted to social media Thursday afternoon. “Yet we continue to see successive public health orders that contain inconsistent restrictions on business and personal activities without explanation.”
Essick’s decision triggered a staunch rebuke from county leaders — from county supervisors to the district attorney — even as it appeared to tap into widespread frustration over restrictions that have halted commerce, deepening what Gov. Gavin Newsom called a “pandemic-induced recession.” Nearly 4 million Californians filed jobless claims in March and April.