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California cities, counties split on enforcing health orders



San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore on Thursday announced a “full-time law enforcement presence” to get more businesses to comply with California’s tightening coronavirus restrictions, joining one of the most aggressive enforcement efforts in the state.

San Diego County, the state’s second most populous with 3.3 million residents, has issued 52 cease-and-desist orders since Monday, sternly worded letters demanding that violators start following health orders. The letters, issued by the county public health officer and posted online, bring unwanted publicity but carry little weight without law enforcement backing.

Gore made a rare appearance at a county coronavirus briefing to make a “full-time commitment” to seeing that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders on business restrictions stick.

Other counties are taking a softer approach, emphasizing education and persuasion. San Diego County’s enforcement push is part of a tug-of-war among California officials over whether to emphasize enforcement or persuasion as infection rates soar and the holidays arrive along with colder weather and the flu season. READ MORE