Orange County Residents React to New Mask Mandate

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.
December 16, 2021 Updated: December 16, 2021

As California’s mask mandate returned on Dec. 15 for indoor public spaces, some Orange County residents said they’re “not going to abide,” while others support the law.

The statewide mask mandate for all residents, regardless of vaccination status, will remain in place until Jan. 15. Officials say it was reintroduced after a surge in COVID-19 since Thanksgiving.

Alison Burchette, of Costa Mesa, said the mandate was another burden that wouldn’t be taken seriously, since the state has gone in and out of pandemic restrictions.

“At this point, it’s just white noise,” Burchette told The Epoch Times.

As the California Department of Public Health deemed businesses responsible for enforcing the mandates, Burchette said it would distract small business owners from running their businesses.

“Another burden on small businesses [is] the enforcement and [doing] the government’s job,” Burchette said.

Grace Hobbs, of Newport Beach, said her family would not comply with the mask mandates.

“We think it’s absolutely absurd,” Hobbs said.

While shopping at a local Ralphs on Dec. 15, Hobb’s husband entered the grocery store maskless along with other maskless shoppers. The store employees didn’t rush to ensure masks were worn by shoppers, Hobbs said.

Another county resident, who declined to provide her name, told The Epoch Times she didn’t mind the mask mandate, as the pandemic persists.

“It’s not a problem to wear a mask,” she said.

Despite some residents refusing to abide, the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) stated its support for the mask mandate as more residents gather for holiday celebrations.

“We support the State’s latest measures intended to bring additional protection to us all and our loved ones,” HCA Director Dr. Clayton Chau said in a statement. “As I mentioned before, we have all the tools available to fight the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, through vaccination, testing and prevention measures including masking.”

While the state is required to abide by the mask mandates, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) announced indoor masks requirements are exempt for groups with 100 percent fully vaccinated people in workspace and gym settings, SFDPH wrote on Twitter on Dec. 14.

“This refinement acknowledges the hard work of the people of San Francisco throughout the pandemic, including the ways in which we have maintained reasonable protections heading into the holiday season,” SFDPH wrote.

Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.