Florida Sheriff Forbids His Employees And Visitors From Wearing Face Masks

by : Emily Brown on :
Florida Sheriff Forbids His Employees And Visitors From Wearing Face MasksMarion County Sheriff's Office/hollybnews/Twitter

A Florida sheriff has banned his employees from wearing face masks despite an increase in coronavirus deaths in the state.

Sheriff Billy Woods, of Marion County, expressed his orders in a memo shared among his staff yesterday, August 12, explaining that neither his deputies nor visitors to the sheriff’s office would be allowed to wear face masks going forward.


The email was sent just one day after Florida recorded its highest single-day number of coronavirus-related deaths, with 276 deaths reported by local health officials, and a total of 542,792 cases reported throughout the state.

It’s clear Florida won’t be free of coronavirus any time soon, and face coverings can help protect residents from catching and spreading the disease, but Woods would apparently rather leave people at risk.

In the memo, cited by Fox News, the sheriff said: ‘Effective immediately, any individual walking into any one of our lobbies (which includes the main office and all district offices) that is wearing a mask will be asked to remove it.’


Woods claimed that the decision was made in regards to ‘the current events when it comes to the sentiment and/or hatred toward law enforcement in our country today’, saying the mask ban would allow for ‘clear communication’ and ‘identification purposes of any individual walking into a lobby.’

There were some exceptions to Woods’ rule, with the email explaining deputies could wear masks ‘while working at the courthouse, the jail, in public schools, in hospitals and in dealing with people suspected of being infected with COVID-19 or at high risk of complications from the disease.’

However, he pointed out the ban was ‘no longer a debate nor is it up for discussion.’


Woods concluded:

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.

person wearing face maskPexels

Woods made it clear he anticipated some confusion to come from his ruling, telling employees that, if they’re asked why they’re not wearing a mask by a member of the public, ‘you will politely and professionally tell them “I am not required to wear a mask nor will I, per the Order of the Sheriff” and then walk away from them.’


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The sheriff wrote that he could ‘already hear the whining’ from those who disagree with his ban, but said he made the decision after considering it for two weeks. He also claimed to have found as many professionals disregarding masks as the number of professionals encouraging them.

The World Health Organization continues to encourage the use of masks to help protect people from the virus.

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Health, Coronavirus, COVID-19, face mask, Face Masks, Florida, Now


Fox 13 News
  1. Fox 13 News

    Florida sheriff bans deputies from wearing face masks, memo says