Orange County sheriff says deputies won't enforce SoCal's new stay-at-home order

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Saturday that his deputies would not be enforcing the regional stay-at-home order that has been issued for Southern California.

"Compliance with health orders is a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement,'' Barnes said in a statement. "The Orange County Sheriff's Department will remain consistent in our approach.

"Orange County Sheriff's deputies will not be dispatched to, or respond to, calls for service to enforce compliance with face coverings, social gatherings, or stay-at-home orders only."



It is not the first time the sheriff has declared deputies would not enforce a state order over coronavirus restrictions. When Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a curfew in November for all California counties in the purple tier amid climbing coronavirus cases, Barnes said deputies would not be enforcing that order either.

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, California's new health order went into effect on Saturday afternoon, and a regional stay-at-home order was triggered for Southern California since ICU capacity for the region dropped below the 15% threshold.

RELATED: Stay-at-home order to take effect in Southern California on Sunday, triggered by ICU capacity's drop below 15%

Orange County and the rest of Southern California will fall under sweeping new health restrictions due to the rapidly increasing number of hospitalizations from the coronavirus, state officials confirmed Saturday, hours before the county reported one of its largest daily totals of new coronavirus cases.

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported 1,966 new COVID-19 cases and 15 more deaths. Current hospitalizations stands at 842.

The Southland's intensive care unit capacity dropped below the 15% threshold on Friday, to 13.1%, according to the California Department of Public Health. That number fell even further on Saturday, to 12.5%.

RELATED: Orange County sheriff says he won't enforce public mask order

As a result, the regional order will take effect in the Southern California at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to the department.

The new measures triggered include strict closures for businesses and a ban on gathering with anyone outside of your own household.

More information on the regional stay-at-home order is available on the state's website.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.

The video above is from a previous report.
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