Firing back at COVID-19-inspired “regulations” being made up by national and local authorities, which are in direct conflict with the U.S. rights of free assembly and freedom of religion, a Florida sheriff has banned his employees from wearing face masks when they are at work.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods issued the command via email on Aug. 11, even though the local government has mandated the use of face coverings inside businesses. The sheriff said even visitors to the department must remove face coverings.
The Ocala Star Banner obtained a copy of the email, which read in part: “My order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn.”
Woods explained that current “sentiment and/or hatred toward law enforcement” is the reason for his requirement, so that there will be “clear communication and for identification purposes of any individual walking into a lobby.”
Officers are allowed to request exemptions when attending court or jail, or when visiting schools or hospitals. They are also required to wear masks if they have to respond to a nursing home, a known COVID-19 patient, or a call that involves a high-risk elderly individual.
Woods said he expects his employees to go maskless everywhere else, saying, “As for special details and/or any special events (paid or not), masks will not be worn.
“This is no longer a debate nor is it up for discussion. Please keep in mind this entire pandemic is fluid and constantly changing the way things are done. However, my orders will be followed or my actions will be swift to address.”