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Gadsden County enforces face mask order

Posted at 8:52 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 08:52:04-04

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla.(WTXL) — Clearing up confusion when it comes to wearing masks in Gadsden County.

Commissioners made the move to make masks in public mandatory to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Gadsden county deputies have been busy, making sure there’s no confusion about what this mask mandate means.

"This is new. We have people alarmed. They have anxiety, said Lt.Anglie Hightower, with the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office.

Days into a countywide rule ordering everyone wear a face covering in public, Gadsden County Deputies hit the streets.

"We're at the Piggly Wiggly. It's one of the busiest stores in Quincy," said Hightower.

Much like a no shirt, no shoes, no service policy, businesses have to turn you away if you're not wearing a face covering.

Employees inside businesses must also have their mouths and noses covered.

"The public is receptive. If you look around people are wearing masks," said Hightower.

It’s a rule that business owners know will take some getting use to.

Instead of turning people away, the owner of Piggly Wiggly decided to help.

"We're going out into the community to give masks out for those who don't have them or can't afford them, said Roy Moore.

Piggly Wiggly owner Roy Moore says they have about 500 masks to hand out, including a box at the entrance of the grocery store.

"We're trying the do the best we can to keep the virus down in our community," said Moore.

While safety was top of mind when commissioners made the decision, not everyone is in support of the plan.

At least one person ABC 27 spoke to called the order unconstitutional.

Even still there will be consequences for those not wearing a mask.

"There is possibility that if someone is blatantly going against the order they'll get a notice to appear meaning a fine or possibly jail," said Hightower.

Law enforcement will hand out warnings for now for people not wearing masks.

Masks are not just for going into businesses. You must use them anywhere the CDC required individuals to practice the 6 feet social distance rule.

County leaders say while a cloth face mask is preferable, any type of covering will work.