Some San Diegans push for end of San Diego County face mask requirement

Posted at 7:18 AM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 10:18:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Some San Diegans are pushing back against the county’s order to wear face coverings in public.

The face coverings requirement in San Diego County -- prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic -- has been in effect since early May, but in other California counties, rules are starting to change.

Last week, Orange County officials decided to roll back their mandate and only “strongly recommended” that masks be worn in public settings.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties have also relaxed their respective mask mandates.

“It's a hard thing to draw the lines. There’s human nature, there’s a concern about such a ramp-up of state enforcement of things,” said University of St. Thomas Law School Professor Robert Kahn.

Kahn, an expert in mask law and history, said one of the biggest issues is people are not used to taking orders from health officials.

That feeling is evident in social media postings on pages like Reopen San Diego on Facebook, where there is a growing push to rescind San Diego’s mask mandate.

Many health officials still agree that face coverings can block transmission of the respiratory droplets released by people when breathing or talking.

During a Monday press briefing, San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said, “Every jurisdiction is different, but San Diego will continue mandatory face coverings.”

Kahn said no matter what rules or laws government might put in place, people will ultimately have to abide by what businesses want their customers to do.

“Businesses will make their decision; private business, free enterprise understands this,” he said.

Orange County’s public health officer resigned rather than remove the county’s mask order. The OC supervisors then replaced her with someone who would make that change.

California officials recommend face coverings, but they leave the final decision up to individual counties.