Laguna Beach police take ‘education first’ approach to stay at home order

A Laguna Beach police patrol car. Photo courtesy of LBPD

Laguna Beach police will pursue an education-first approach in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s limited stay at home order for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The month-long order effective Saturday prohibits non-essential activity outside the home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. This rule applies to counties placed on the state’s Purple Tier for surging COVID-19 cases, which currently includes Orange County.

“We will seek to educate the public first and foremost. Enforcement is available, if necessary, but our priority right now is education first,” said Lt. Jim Cota, a spokesman for the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Laguna Beach police were directed to follow a similar education-first approach when the city administration closed city beaches and trailheads in April. Generally, this involves asking community members to voluntarily comply with public health orders.

The Laguna Beach Police Department’s response to the state order generally mirrors the position taken by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, who previously said his deputies won’t act as “mask police.”

“Throughout the pandemic, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken an education-first approach to the public health orders,” Barnes said in a statement late Thursday. “We are currently assessing the action by the Governor. At this time, due to the need to have deputies available for emergency calls for service, deputies will not be responding to requests for face-coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement.”

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