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Westminster Councilmember and O.C. Board of Supervisors Candidate Sergio Contreras Calls Failure to Require Masks in Public Reckless, Irresponsible, and a Potential Public Health Catastrophe

WESTMINSTER, CA -- In response to an attempt to silence the concerns of the community and frontline workers about the dangers of failing to require face masks in public places in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, today Westminster Councilmember Sergio Contreras released the following statement reacting to the decision by Orange County health officials to roll back the mandatory order on face coverings in public following intense political pressure from the Board of Supervisors.

“The actions taken by Andrew Do and other members of the Board of Supervisors to criticize the recommendation of local public health experts and encourage residents to ignore the warnings about failing to wear masks while in public places is incredibly reckless and irresponsible. 

There is a strong consensus among health care professionals that wearing a mask helps stop the transmission of this incredibly contagious and deadly virus. Our local leaders should be encouraging people to do their part to save lives, rather than politicizing an important health issue and demonizing Orange County public health experts. The O.C. Supervisors are playing Russian roulette with public health, and risking a public health catastrophe. 

You never know who you might be standing next to in a public place, if they have a family member at home battling cancer or suffering from some other health condition that makes them vulnerable to the virus. If dealing with a minor inconvenience saves even one life, isn’t it worth it? 

This opposition from Do and the Board of Supervisors to the common-sense directive from health experts to wear a mask in public is an insult to doctors, nurses and every other essential worker on the frontlines of the battle against this deadly virus. The Board has a responsibility to support and assist our public health experts and frontline workers during this crisis, not play political games and gamble with the lives of the community.

I stand with our public health experts, frontline workers, the business community as well as the general public in demanding that the Board of Supervisors reinstate the requirement for face masks in public places in order to best protect our community and avoid further disruptions to our local economy.

In order for people to get back to work and get our economy moving, workers must feel safe in the workplace. By ignoring public health and playing politics with people’s lives, the Board of Supervisors is risking a second wave of infections that could undermine all of the efforts we have made to restart our economy and get people back to work.  We want people to feel safe when going out, shopping, dining, conducting business, and all of the other activities essential to our local economy. Again, we are talking about a minor temporary inconvenience that will save lives and help get our economy moving again.

In states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona, we are seeing the repercussions of opening up without taking common-sense precautions like requiring face coverings, as all three of those states recently hit daily records for COVID-19 cases. We cannot let Orange County suffer the same fate, and I urge the Board of Supervisors to stop playing politics and threatening the health of our community and instead do what is in the best interest of first responders, frontline workers, and Orange County residents.”

This statement follows recent news of a spike in COVID-19 related cases and hospitalizations over the past week.

Additionally, Connie Montesano, a healthcare worker at Fountain Valley Hospital, released a statement calling on Orange County officials to reverse their decision on face masks:

“I’m a healthcare worker in Fountain Valley and I do my job every day the best I can, but over the last few months I’ve seen a growing number of sick people. Face masks in public spaces are essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19. The reversal of the face mask policy puts all healthcare workers at an increased risk. We will continue to go to work every day to help those who really need us, but we need to know the O.C. Supervisors have our back. I urge the County to reinstate this mask policy, because we should do everything we can to slow the spread of this virus in order for us all to come through this faster.“

To demand that the OC Board of Supervisors reinstate the mandatory public mask policy, click here.

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