The city council of Huntington Beach, California, voted 4-3 early Wednesday morning to ban new mask and vaccine mandates in the city, as fears of a new coronavirus strain has prompted calls for mandates in other parts of the country.
Local Fox affiliate KTTV-11 reported:
The Huntington Beach City Council narrowly voted Wednesday to approve a declaration to ban universal mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the city.
Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark introduced the motion at the Huntington Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday night. The approval of the declaration essentially makes Huntington Beach a no mask and no vaccine city.
In the declaration, Van Der Mark said in regard to mask mandates imposed at City Hall and other parts of the city in 2020 and 2021 “unnecessarily limited the freedoms of the citizens of Huntington Beach — even those who were not around anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 or at risk of any exposure.”
Huntington Beach has a long history of flouting mask and vaccine mandates, as well as coronavirus restrictions imposed by the state. In April 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) scolded Orange County leaders after Huntington Beach opened its beaches for recreation, in defiance of state attempts to close all of the beaches in California.
The conservative city, known as Surf City USA, is also at odds with the state on other issues, such as housing policy.