Florida sheriff bans deputies from wearing masks

Florida sheriff bans deputies from wearing protective masks

OCALA, Fla. — A Sheriff in Marion County, Florida is telling his employees, as well as visitors to the Sheriff’s office that they are forbidden from wearing a mask.

In an email obtained by The Ocala Star-Banner, Sheriff Billy Woods said “my order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office -- masks will not be worn.”

As Ocala hits a single-day record for deaths associated with COVID-19, sheriff sends out an order to his employees not to wear masks at work.

Posted by Ocala StarBanner on Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Exceptions to the order would be for those employees who work at locations with people that could be infected with the COVID-19 virus, such as jails, hospitals and schools.

“For all of these exceptions, the moment that enforcement action is to be taken and it requires you to give an individual orders/commands to comply, the mask will be immediately removed,” Woods said in the email.

If anyone confronts a Marion County Sheriff’s Office employee about not wearing a mask, Woods said they should “politely and professionally tell them I am not required to wear a mask nor will I, per the Order of the Sheriff.”

Woods said that it will be his responsibility to respond to a complaint if an employee is confronted about a mask.

Visitors to the Sheriff’s office will be told to remove their mask when entering. If they do not want to remove their mask they will be told to leave the building. Woods says that mask removal is to ensure communication and identification “in light of the current events when it comes to the sentiment and/or hatred toward law enforcement in our country today.”

Woods said he has at least 900 employees and believes that his approach is working.

Last week, the city of Ocala passed an ordinance requiring masks, which the mayor then vetoed on Monday.

On Wednesday the city council voted 4-1 to overturn Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn’s veto according to WCJB.

Ocala has roughly 60,000 residents and is the county seat of Marion County.