A Florida sheriff is ordering his staff not to wear masks or face coverings. Marion County Sheriff, Billy Woods, addressed the issue in an email this week.
In Woods’ email, penned Aug. 11, he reveals the decision to ban employees and those entering the police from wearing masks and face coverings. “My order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn,” the sheriff writes.
Woods makes several exceptions to his new rule. People working at the courthouse, jail, public schools, and hospitals are exempt. Furthermore, people suspected of contracting COVID-19 or those at high risk are exempt.
However, Woods says “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.”
Florida Sheriff Says No Masks at the Station or At Any Time While On Duty
The rule not only applies to employees while at the police station but also at external events. Woods tells his employees to “politely and professionally” explain to others that the sheriff orders them not to wear a mask.
Thereafter, the sheriff says he plans to handle the situation. “From that point on it will be my burden and responsibility to take care of the person and answer their problem, complaint or their question,” Woods writes.
For those uncomfortable coming to the police station, the sheriff advises them to give their cell phone numbers and wait in their car until called into the station. “We can debate and argue all day of why and why not. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t,” he said.
While mask policies vary from state to state, Florida currently does not mandate masks or face coverings.