Marion County, FL, Sheriff Billy Woods has ordered his troops not to wear COVID masks. (Photo: Marion County SO) -

Marion County, FL, Sheriff Billy Woods has ordered his troops not to wear COVID masks. (Photo: Marion County SO)

Marion County, FL, Sheriff Billy Woods has ordered his employees and those visiting his offices to not wear masks in most circumstances as Ocala wrestles with mask mandate.

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 and the council is considering an override, Ocala.com reports.

Sheriff Woods has made some exceptions for officers to 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.

The sheriff said if anyone confronts an employee about them not wearing mask, the employee should “politely and professionally tell them I am not required to wear a mask nor will I, per the Order of the Sheriff,” and walk away.

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