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Freedom from Face Masks May Turn into Anti-Mask Policies


Opposition to face masks is slowly turning into policies against face masks. These actions will endanger public health and prolong the Covid-19 crisis.


In mid-August 2020, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods of Florida prohibited his deputies from wearing masks at work. This “order” extends to visitors to the sheriff’s office, but carves out exceptions for people at high-risk or suspected of having the virus and officers in certain locations such as hospitals and courthouses. Woods explained his reasoning by making the following statement: “We can debate and argue all day of why and why not. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t.” Visitors and employees will be asked to remove masks if seen wearing one.

Most mask policies around the country treat mask wearing as the default and a few policies carve out exceptions for those who have legitimate reasons for not wanting to wear a face mask. Wood’s policy is the opposite: it makes not wearing a mask the default but carves out exceptions for health and legal reasons.


Ohio Governor DeWine has promoted a face mask policy and issued a stay-at-home order early in the pandemic. A trio of Republican lawmakers have filed articles of impeachment against the Republican Governor for a laundry list of reasons that include the face mask and stay-at-home orders. The insurgent lawmakers accuse Governor DeWine and his policies “promotes fear, turns neighbors against neighbors, and contracts the economy by making people fearful to leave their homes.”

The threat of impeachment is unlikely to succeed. The governor’s approval rating is around 49%-50% and he has the backing of the Ohio Republican Party chair who called the impeachment a “baseless, feeble attempt at creating attention for themselves.”

Nevertheless, the impeachment attempt highlights a potentially dangerous trend where anti-mask views are being turned into actual policies and actions.

Mask Bans like Sheriff Billy Woods Are Irrational and Will Endanger Public Health

Wood’s mask ban is insane during a pandemic that has claimed the lives of almost 200,000 Americans and is not even over. Wood’s argument rests on the premise that because the experts do not agree among themselves that therefore deputies and visitors can be banned from wearing masks.

There are no credible experts who actually disagree that wearing masks can save live. Even if such experts exist though, that does not necessitate banning masks as a general rule. Face masks can be annoying, but the burden on individuals is extremely low compared to the burden of being treated for Covid-19.

Mask Wearing v. Ventilator Usage

Face masks do not need to be wore in one’s own home. Masks can be readjusted for comfort and can be removed when the wearer is no longer in public. They are relatively inexpensive and there are many non-profits and government officials that are willing to hand them out for free.

On the other hand, getting sick means spending at least two weeks on a ventilator with a tube shoved down your throat. You will be extremely uncomfortable. The tube cannot be removed during this process and you will have to spend significant time in a hospital isolated from family. You will be unable to eat or talk. And you may DIE despite this invasive treatment to save your life. You will incur substantial medical bills that may come from your pocket or will require your estate to pay for it if you didn’t have health insurance that covers the treatment.

Even if there is expert disagreement, the costs and benefits of wearing masks should be obvious. The mask mandates may infringe upon people’s freedoms, but the infringement is low and the health risks are high. However, there is a libertarian argument that people have the right to get themselves killed by not wearing a mask.

Despite all the rhetoric about “freedom” though, men like Billy Woods want to impose their views about mask wearing. Unlike the mask mandates around the country though, there is no public health argument in support of their positions. Indeed, the various exceptions indicate that Woods understands all the various health risks – he just wants to assert power regardless of the consequences to those under his jurisdiction.

Perhaps conservatives should consider impeaching Sheriff Woods for his appalling lack of judgment.

Do I Need An Attorney For A Face Mask Issue?

A criminal defense attorney can make sure you know all your rights, that they are being protected, and will know the best strategies to help you get the best outcome possible in your case. Access to an attorney is your right even while facial mask debates are ongoing.


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