ECHO PARK, Calif. (CNS) — Los Angeles County's public health director said Monday she respects the rights of people who gathered outside her Echo Park home over the weekend to protest newly enacted COVID-19 health restrictions, but said it doesn't change the need to control the spread of the virus.

About 50 people chanted and waved signs outside Barbara Ferrer's home on Sunday, challenging the need for the tightened restrictions that prohibit gatherings and severely limit capacity at most retail establishments.

What You Need To Know

  • Protesters gathered outside the home of L.A. County Dept. of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer

  • The 50 or so people waved signs and chanted in opposition to tighter COVID-19 restrictions which take effect Monday

  • Few in attendance wore protective face masks according to reports

  • The demonstration lasted about an hour before breaking up about 5 p.m. Sunday

"I think again people everywhere have the right to protest and have the right to express themselves when they're unhappy," Ferrer said Monday. "I think, unfortunately, that can be upsetting, but that is their right and I'm assuming that people will continue to exercise their rights. That's just where we are right now.

"My hope is ... it's a relatively small group of folks and that it doesn't in any way detract from what I think is the most important task in front of us right now," Ferrer said. "Yes, we're asking a lot and yes people are going to have to make more sacrifices. But if we don't get this virus under control it will cost all of us dearly."

Protesters outside Ferrer's home chanted slogans such as "No Science, no data, no shutdown." Few in the crowd wore face masks.

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 at about 5 p.m. There were no reports of arrests.