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Protesters Target LA Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer's Home

Patch logo Patch 11/30/2020 Paige Austin
a man wearing a suit and tie: A largely maskless crowd converged on the home of LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer to protest coronavirus health orders. © AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes A largely maskless crowd converged on the home of LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer to protest coronavirus health orders.

ECHO PARK, CA — A largely maskless crowd of about 50 people gathered outside the home of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer to protest the city's new COVID-19 restrictions.

The protesters waved signs, chanted and generally flouted the county's health orders requiring masks and social distancing. They sought to make the case that the county's new restrictions are unnecessary and arbitrary. Since widespread shutdowns and health restriction were first implemented in the spring, Ferrer and health officials across the nation have been the target of harassment and death threats from people who resent the orders, including many who believe the pandemic is a hoax.

On Sunday, they chanted "No Science, no data, no shutdown," according to the Los Angeles Times.

A video posted on Twitter showed a handful of protesters arguing with one of Ferrer's neighbors. One waived a flag reading "Trump Train," and another held a homemade sign, saying, "Only we the people can save the USA."

The demonstration lasted about an hour and was reported to have broken up about 5 p.m.

The order that takes effect Monday and continues through Dec. 20 prohibits public and private gatherings between people of different households, requires masks for nearly all outdoor recreational activities, restricts dining at restaurants and reduces patron capacity at retail stores, among other provisions. Protests and faith-based services are exempt due to constitutional protections.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ferrer has been the public face of they county's health department as well as the restrictions ordered by the county. She continues to hold daily press conferences updating the public about the local outbreak. At one point she told reporters she held the briefings to spare her colleagues from the harassment and death threats hurled at health officials.

On Sunday, many of her neighbors came to her defense, engaging in shouting matches with the protesters, according to the Los Angeles Times. One resident called the protesters “fascists” and Nazis.”

Over the last week, the county has been averaging more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases per day as well as nearly 30 deaths, a level not seen since the summer surge.

City News Service and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.

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