The governor can say a lot of things. He can say that law enforcement should not enforce mask mandates. Unfortunately, he has no power to make any such claim which is why several are still facing criminal charges related to their refusal to wear masks. How is this happening?
Well, the governor can say that ordinances related to mask orders are no longer in effect. That is within his power. However, the proprietor has 100% authority to dictate the terms on which members of the public are allowed access to their stores. As an example, a proprietor may demand that anyone who comes into their facility wear shirts and shoes. If the individual refuses to abide by the rules, the store employees can ask them to leave. If the individual does not leave, then they can face trespassing charges, and so, even without mask ordinances in place, mask rules are enforceable so long as the proprietor requires them.
Are Police Going Overboard?
Some criminal defense attorneys say that police are turning mask rules into a crime unnecessarily. In order to understand their perspective, you must also understand that there are some exemptions related to mask orders. However, the CDC and other health officials can’t figure out what they are, and the majority of those who say those mask exemptions are necessary are folks who just don’t want to wear masks. In other words, there doesn’t appear to be any medical evidence to support the theory that masks are dangerous to those who wear them, even those with conditions like asthma.
Is There a Disability That Prevents Mask Wearing or Makes Mask Wearing Dangerous?
Yes. If you are a child under 2 years of age, you should not wear a mask. Thus far, that is the only consideration health officials have brought to the fore considering mask exemptions. Asthma, COPD, or related conditions are not exacerbated by mask-wearing.
Legal Exemptions from Mask Wearing
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that others make reasonable accommodations for those that have established disabilities. This would include proprietors who would have to provide some exemptions to their mask rule, even if the police decided to charge the mask-violator with trespassing. The charge would be dismissed if the individual could prove that they were exempted from mask-wearing.
While this argument might not work in a grocery store, it would be much more effective in a workplace where employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees or else face lawsuits under the law. Even there, the law has favored employers that require masks while working.
Further, there is plenty of evidence that those who refuse to wear masks are simply throwing a temper tantrum because they don’t like being told what to do. Since there is no scientific merit in their claims that masks are harmful, their legal protections don’t exist, despite the governor’s orders.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
While mask requirements can be enforced, you haven’t committed a crime unless you’ve been asked to leave and then refused. If you want to fight a mask prosecution, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. will help you. Just be aware, the government has the authority to enforce health restrictions during a pandemic.