Chairwoman Michelle Steel poses for cameras with her own protective mask on, but refuses to order facial coverings for essential workers in OC.

Irresponsible inaction by the Orange County Board of Supervisors will result in infection, sickness and death from COVID19 for many county residents including innocent children. The lack of action by the OC Supervisors is so serious and they are so dysfunctional, that cities like Irvine, Costa Mesa, Seal Beach, and Buena Park have had to take matters into their own hands, passing ordinances to mandate face coverings like masks for essential workers. While we wait for herd immunity to develop, and a concomitant vaccine, we must have a strategy to re-emerge. Part of the strategy must be to require face coverings to be worn to keep the level of infection and death to a minimum to allow for the reopening of our schools, businesses, and our economy, only to prepare for a possible second and third wave of infections.

Common sense would dictate that young workers be protected from exposure to COVID19 from direct interaction with the public. Common sense would suggest customers being served by frontline food workers be protected. Common sense would direct retail food management to reduce their risk of sick and dying workers by using such minimal measures as face coverings. Common courtesy was MIA at the April 7, 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting when Supervisor Do attempted to present a motion to require frontline food service workers be required to wear face coverings.  Supervisor Do was cut off by Chairwoman Steele without basis and told to wait to advocate for frontline workers. Common courtesy went astray when Chairwoman Steel engaged in violating Robert’s Rules of Order by cutting off Do to demand he yield to her, when debate should not have ever been allowed, and to get her way to attempt to “kill” any motion made. Her petty political maneuvers and bullying did just that, killed a mandatory order for face coverings.

Supervisor Chairwoman Steel must agendize, advocate for, and allow a vote for face coverings without any interference of her colleagues. She must place an agenda item for an order for face coverings for all food service, grocery store, and other essential workers, many of whom are children under the age of 18.

Many of our poorest families in the OC find themselves without head-of-household income. The COVID19 forced unemployment places our lowest socio-economic strata on the brink of homelessness, hunger, and complete collapse.  In many families only the oldest teenagers working at minimum wage food service jobs are bringing in any money for the families.  With school out these teens are able to garner more working hours.

On behalf of Orange County children and community members, and in a bipartisan fashion, we urge the OC Board of Supervisors to take immediate action to reduce community spread of COVID-19. It’s time for OC to demonstrate leadership consistent with numerous public health agencies in all of our neighboring county jurisdictions of Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Why is Orange County always last?

Chairwoman Michelle Steel, take action now to compel the entire OC Board of Supervisors to issue an order to protect workers before rates of infections in the county rise so high that we will have no chance of re-emerging to re-open our schools, businesses, economy and lives.

 Petition for Supervisors

Board of Supervisors Meeting from April 7, 2020

Gina Clayton-Tarvin, President of Ocean View School District (CA Democratic Party State Delegate)

John Briscoe, Trustee of Ocean View School District (CA Republican State Party Delegate)

Opinions expressed in community opinion pieces belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please email

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *