Billy Woods sheriff masks, ‘This is no longer a debate’.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods is making national headlines after forbidding his deputies and visitors to the sheriff’s office from wearing face masks, according to a new report. This after Florida reported its largest single-day jump in deaths yet on Tuesday.

The Ocala Star Banner reports that an email sent out by Sheriff Woods stated:

“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.”

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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.”

The sheriff’s office currently employs around 900 people.

The Ocala Star Banner says that the email ended with Woods saying, “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.”

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The sheriff did list some exceptions to where deputies must wear masks, including “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,” the Ocala Star Banner reports.

If an employee is asked why they are not wearing a mask, the report states that the employee should politely tell them they are not required to wear one and walk away.

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The Florida Department of Health says that wearing a cloth face covering and social distancing is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Florida reported 5,831 new cases and 276 more deaths. That is the largest single-day jump in deaths yet, breaking the previous record of 257 deaths on July 30. The statewide total of cases is now at 542,792 since the start of the pandemic, resulting in 8,553 deaths.

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