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Judge sides with Gadsden County in mask mandate lawsuit

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 18:07:35-04

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — An attempt to strike down a mask mandate in Gadsden County has failed, according to county leaders.

Late Monday night, Second Judicial Circuit Judge David Frank ruled in favor of Gadsden County against Plaintiff Gerald Carroll, who filed a lawsuit on July 27 asking the court to strike down Gadsden County’s mask mandate because he claimed it violated his constitutional rights to privacy and due process.

“I am extremely pleased with Judge Frank’s ruling in favor of the County in the frivolous lawsuit filed by Mr. Carroll,” Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Dr. Anthony Viegbesie, Ph.D. said. “The look of COVID-19 in our community is everchanging, and to slow its spread, we must all be vigilant, wear a mask and follow the laws of the land. The mask mandate is for individuals’ social responsibilities to enhance public safety. I am very knowledgeable of the U.S. Constitution, and I know for a fact that the Constitution does not entitle individuals to infect others with a deadly virus.”

In his decision, Frank ruled that the Gadsden County mask mandate was indeed constitutional.

“At the end of the day, Commissioners were asked to choose between sparing residents the minuscule inconvenience of wearing a mask and saving lives," Frank wrote in his decision. "They chose saving lives. And they did so in conformity with the Florida Constitution.”

Gadsden County's mask mandate, which requires masks to be worn inside indoor establishments, will remain in effect until commissioners choose to lift the order.