Deputies and employees with the Marion County Sheriff's Office in Florida are banned from wearing masks while on duty. Sheriff Billy Woods informed the department of his decision in an email on Tuesday (August 11).
The ban on face masks also applies to visitors to the sheriff's office, who will be asked to remove them before entering.
"[I]n light of the current events when it comes to the sentiment and/or hatred toward law enforcement in our country today, this is being done to ensure there is clear communication and for identification purposes of any individual walking into a lobby."
He said there would be some exceptions, and the officers have to wear masks in hospitals, public schools, jails, and courthouses.
"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. 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 wrote.
The decision comes one day after the mayor of Ocala vetoed an ordinance that requires people to wear a mask inside businesses. The city council is meeting to consider overriding the veto.
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