On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper released an executive order mandating North Carolina residents wear masks in public. Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell explained how the sheriff’s office can enforce the mandate.
According to the executive order, “Law enforcement personnel are not authorized to criminally enforce the Face Covering requirements of this Executive Order against individual workers, customers, or patrons. However, if a business or organization does not allow entry to a worker, customer, or patron because that person refuses to wear a Face Covering, and if that worker, customer, or patron enters the premises or refuses to leave the premises, law enforcement personnel may enforce the trespassing laws and any other laws.”
Campbell said the executive order does not allow him to give an individual a citation for not wearing a mask in public, but he can and will enforce trespassing if someone refused entry to a business because they are not wearing a mask refuses to leave.
There are exceptions to the mandate including medical conditions. According to the executive order, the application of the exceptions is based on the honor system.
Campbell said this mandate was confusing and vague, making it difficult to enforce.
“We’re the ones on the ground,” Campbell said. “We’re trying to keep people safe.”
Campbell added that he supported individuals wearing masks to protect themselves and stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“There’s preventative measures,” Campbell said. “We need to listen to our healthcare experts.”
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