‘I refuse to bow to anybody.’ Rural California defies Gov. Newsom’s order to wear masks


Perched behind the counter of his cramped memorabilia shop in downtown Placerville, co-owner Lorenzo Smith isn’t about to tell his customers they have to put on a mask.

It’s a matter of principle, he isn’t convinced it’s necessary, and he doesn’t particularly care that Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered Californians to wear them.

“Most people up here do not like the governor,” said Smith, whose shop is called Hangtown Originals. “The deal is, you have no right to tell me I have to wear a mask. I’m an American. … I refuse to bow to anybody.”

Newsom issued his order June 18 in an effort to halt a recent statewide surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations since he began relaxing restrictions and reopening the economy more than a month ago.

But Californians aren’t listening — not all of them, anyway. And there seems to be a distinct split between urban California and the rest of the state. In big cities like Sacramento, compliance appears to be fairly high. In suburbs and small towns, Newsom’s edict is more likely to be ignored.

Read the rest of the story on The Sacramento Bee

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