Sheriff Bianco says no to enforcing governor’s stay-at-home orders

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said deputies will not enforce any part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised stay-at-home order, joining other sheriffs throughout the state Friday, Nov. 20 who affirmed that no resources will be dedicated to enforcing it.
“To ensure Constitutional rights are not violated and to limit potential negative interactions and exposure to our deputies, we will not be responding to calls for service based solely on non-compliance with the new order, or social distancing and mask guidelines,” Bianco said in a statement released Thursday night.
The sheriff noted that it is “important that all of us do everything we can to protect ourselves” from coronavirus risks, but as he did in March when he declined to enforce Newsom’s original stay-at-home order, Bianco emphasized the need for individual responsibility to govern residents’ decisions — not the fear of government penalties.
At the time, the sheriff questioned the data being produced to justify the governor’s public health lockdowns, as well as additional requirements then imposed by county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser, saying during one Board of Supervisors’ meeting that the mandates hindering people’s freedoms “cannot be the new normal.”
Bianco’s no-enforcement declaration followed one issued by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, and since then, others have telegraphed the same intentions. Among them are San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell and El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini.
Under the governor’s “limited” stay-at-home order, nightly curfews will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., beginning Saturday and continuing to Dec. 21.
Newsom said the goal is to limit viral transmission opportunities, especially in gatherings, as COVID-19 infection rates rise.
“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic, and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge,” he said. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations.”
Earlier this week, he announced that 28 counties were going back into the “purple” tier under the California Department of Public Health’s color-coded regulatory framework for virus containment. It’s the most restrictive tier, impacting offices, restaurants, movie theaters, hair salons, gyms, houses of worship, and other entities deemed by the state to be “nonessential.”
Riverside County was reclassified purple nearly a month ago, after a roughly four-week turn in the slightly less restrictive “red” tier.
The only curfews that have been actively enforced in Riverside County in the last two decades have stemmed from gang injunction lawsuits. Permanent injunctions against Riverside’s Eastside Riva and Cathedral City’s Barrio Dream Homes gang resulted in mandatory curfews — applicable only to known gang members — within narrow specified locations of each city, generally from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The injunctions, imposed in 2007 and 2008, respectively, mandated that documented gang members were not supposed to congregate or be on the streets for any reason during the curfew periods. Otherwise, they were subject to detention and possibly arrest.