FL County Sheriff Bans Officers From Wearing Masks

The Ocala Star-Banner reports:

As the city of Ocala wrestles with an ordinance requiring face coverings for people inside businesses, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods told his employees they will not wear masks at work and visitors to his office can’t wear masks either.

Woods, in an email dated Aug. 11, 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.”

Ocala City Council passed an emergency ordinance last week requiring people to wear masks inside businesses. Mayor Kent Guinn vetoed it Monday and the council will meet Wednesday to consider overriding the veto.

The Washington Post reports:

All visitors to sheriff’s department buildings will be asked to take off their masks in the lobby, Woods said, linking that rule to the ongoing protests against police brutality.

The sheriff argued working mask-free hasn’t led to a spike of infections in his 900-person department. “Since the beginning of this pandemic the operation of this office has not changed and no wearing of masks has been put in place,” he said.

But as the Star-Banner reported, the local jail has seen a serious spike, with at least 200 inmates testing positive, along with 36 jail employees, including officers. A nurse at the jail has also died of covid-19.

Marion County, population 330,000, is north of Orlando.