A sheriff in the southern U.S. state of Florida has banned the use of face masks in his office and for his deputies, with certain exceptions when working with the public.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods sent an email to his staff Tuesday saying he had weighed both sides of the issue amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, saying he did not make the decision easily. But he said he can find just as many "professionals" who say you should not wear as mask as those who say you should.
Under his ban, Woods said deputies may wear a mask when working at jails, schools, courthouses, hospitals, nursing homes and when dealing with someone who is elderly or has COVID-19. But, he said, officers should remove their masks when giving orders or commands to comply.
The order came the same day the Florida Department of Health said the central Florida county reached a total of more than 100 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.
In July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Americans to wear masks, citing increasing evidence face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
In Marion County's largest city, Ocala, the city council last week voted to make wearing masks in public mandatory, only to have the city's mayor veto the measure.