This Sheriff believes that masks are keeping law enforcement officers from effectively doing their jobs, so he’s banning them—really. Check your calendar it’s not April 1st. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods believes that officers who respond to a call for service need to ensure that their orders are clearly heard, and a mask inhibits that clarity.
Woods said the decision was not easy and pondered on it for the last two weeks, but in these times when the sentiment towards cops has deteriorated over recent weeks, clear communication is more critical than ever.
In an email to staff obtained by the Ocala Star Banner, Sheriff Billy Woods made his position on mask-wearing pretty clear–it’s not gonna happen while officers are on duty or representing the Sheriff’s Office.
This comes just after the city of Ocala issued an ordinance requiring face coverings inside of businesses.
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.
Sheriff Woods was firm saying if his employees disobey his orders, there will be consequences. “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,” wrote Sheriff Woods.
“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 said.
However, public health officials at local, state and national levels consistently advise that there is clear and mounting evidence that face coverings properly used are among the best methods to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Woods said at 900 employees, “our number of cases so far has proven that the current way we are approaching the issue is working.”
Sheriff Woods has also banned visitors to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office from wearing masks.
“effective immediately, any individual walking in to 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.” He added, “in 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.”
And if a visitor refused to take off their mask, they will be told to get the heck out:
“If a person does not wish to remove the mask they will be asked to leave. If the individual is not comfortable with standing and waiting in the lobby with other individuals, politely ask for their cell number and advise them to stand outside or sit in their vehicle and you will text or call them with their completed transaction,” said the email.
The Daily Mail has noted that the leaked email has “sparked outrage” in the community because COVID cases are on the rise. It also notes that Marion County has reported more than 6,600 COVID with 102 deaths.
To put this in perspective, 6,600 is pretty close to the “official” number of nursing home deaths that the New York state government is not embarrassed to tout as a success in containing the virus. The real number is likely close to double that. But we’re talking positive cases in Marion County, Florida–not deaths.
It’s literally comparing apples to oranges.
Speaking of apples vs. oranges…
Why is it that the media has applauded Governor Cuomo (D-NY) and taken every opportunity to slag Governor Rick DeSantis(R-FL)?
Riddle me this, Media:
Cross-Posted with Clash Daily