Jackson, Marshall sheriffs weigh in on enforcing statewide masking order

Under the governor's order, the penalties for not wearing a mask are up to a $500 fine and potentially jail time.

Posted: Jul 16, 2020 9:58 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2020 8:14 AM

The statewide mandatory masking order is officially in effect. 

Now, cities and counties are tasked with enforcing it. "Before this came along, we didn't have enough deputies to answer the calls we were answering, so as far as answering calls, with people that are not wearing a mask, we're not going to do it," said Chuck Phillips, Jackson County Sheriff. 

Phillips says he's instructing his deputies to encourage people to wear a mask, but they won't arrest someone for not wearing one.

Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said the same. 

"I want to be very clear on this. As your sheriff, this office will not be making an arrest against violators of this order," he said. 

Phillips says if an altercation happens because someone isn't wearing a mask, then law enforcement would step in. 

"They can get arrested for assault or something of that nature if that happens, but as far as putting someone in jail for the mask, it just can't happen," said Phillips.

Phillips says he is encouraging people in Jackson County to follow the governor's order, and he has a message for the community: "For two weeks, let's just try it and see. Hopefully it works. If it don't, we know a lot of people just aren't going to wear one and we understand that, but let's just try it. The governor's asked us to do it, let's just try it."

Under the governor's order, the penalties for not wearing a mask are up to a $500 fine and potentially jail time.

Over in DeKalb County, the Fort Payne police chief issued a statement saying they won't be writing citations either, but they will step in if someone is causing a disturbance.

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