News & Politics

California County Mandates Masks for Private Thanksgiving Celebrations at Home

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Left’s gallop toward tyranny took a great leap forward on Friday, when Santa Cruz County, California, mandated masks indoors, even in private homes. The mandate was issued in anticipation of the holiday season and went into effect a minute before midnight on Sunday night. So if you’re in Santa Cruz County today entertaining family or friends for Thanksgiving and you aren’t wearing a mask, you could run afoul of the local Stasi.

The county claimed that the measure was needed because “COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increasing as we move into the holidays and winter months.” Yet area hospitals aren’t exactly being slammed: Santa Cruz County reported 213 Covid cases between November 18 and 25, and 77.96 cases per every one hundred thousand people; 70.8% of the County’s population is fully vaccinated.

For a disease with a survival rate of over 97% for most of the population, that doesn’t seem to be an acute crisis, but Santa Cruz County officials disagree. Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel explained: “Unfortunately, a potential winter surge appears to be a significant threat to the health and safety of our community.” And so it’s time to lower the boom: “As we look forward to spending time with those we love during the holidays, it is important to protect vulnerable friends and family members by wearing a mask indoors. Everyone who has not been vaccinated should get their first dose as soon as possible, and anyone who was vaccinated more than six months ago should seek out a booster.”

This means that yes, if you reached out in kindness and invited the lonely old widower down the street to join you for Thanksgiving, you all have to mask up: “Masks must be worn in private settings, including your home, when non-household members are present.” The Stasi will be checking on you in the workplace: “To help assure compliance, all businesses and governmental entities must require employees to wear masks and post signage that is clearly visible and easy-to-read at all entry points for indoor settings informing the public of the mask requirement.”

How the mask Nazis will enforce the masking rule in private homes is left unexplained. Will the secret police kick down your door at 4 a.m. and demand that everyone roll out of bed and present themselves before the agents fully masked? Will scofflaws be issued citations and have to pay fines, or is this a more serious offense than a parking ticket, and offenders will have to appear in court (fully masked, of course)?

Santa Cruz County’s health KGB didn’t answer those questions. But Big Brother has a generous heart, and so the county did allow the peasants a modicum of freedom: “Those working in a closed room or office alone or with members of their household do not have to wear a mask, and masks are not required during indoor activities where they cannot be worn safely such as eating, drinking, swimming, showering in a fitness facility, or obtaining medical or cosmetic services.” We applaud Comrade Newel for her generosity and kindness (or else)!

Related: DC Mayor Bowser Finally Lifts Indoor Mask Mandate

Santa Cruz County’s seventy-percent-vaccinated population should be crying foul. This is not what they signed up for, but of course one of the most charming features of this age of Covid hysteria is the constant moving of the goalposts. We were originally told that vaccination would be our gateway to a return to normality, that is, maskless normality. But as more and more confirmation comes in, practically on a daily basis, of the fact that the vaccines just don’t work, or that they work much less efficiently and effectively than was assumed, little totalitarians such as the health officials of Santa Cruz County don’t respond by acknowledging that they don’t work and trusting the spread of natural immunity to eradicate the virus in due course. Instead, they become ever more intrusive, demanding, and authoritarian.

What will come after the requirement to wear masks in private homes? Will local authorities demand that surveillance cameras be installed in all homes so that officials can check compliance at all times? Will us hapless plebeians have to get permits to be allowed out of our houses at certain hours, and then only when wearing hazmat suits? Will we be directed by health officials, on pain of arrest, about what we can eat and drink? With the new mandate in Santa Cruz County, such questions have become much less far-fetched than they would have been just months ago. Will power-mad officials ever come to a point where they believe they have gone to the limit of their right to limit Americans’ freedom? That point doesn’t seem to be on the horizon right now, at least in Santa Cruz County.