Florida sheriff bans masks for deputies, visitors

Marion County Sheriff's Office
Marion County Sheriff's Office

If someone confronts a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy about not wearing a mask, the deputy is supposed to respond politely and walk away. Sheriff Billy Woods emailed his staff on Tuesday with instructions saying that, with a few exceptions, deputies may not wear masks, and neither can visitors to the sheriff’s office, WFTV-TV in Orlando reported. Visitors who don’t want to remove their mask can provide a phone number for deputies to call. “This is no longer a debate, nor is it up for discussion,” Woods said.

Why the ban? Woods said, with so much tension between the public and law enforcement, face coverings inhibit necessary clear communication. Deputies can wear masks in jails, schools, courthouses, hospitals, nursing homes, and when dealing with someone who is elderly or has COVID-19. But they must remove their masks to give commands.

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties on the balance between personal liberty and social good in the mask debate.

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This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2020, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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