While US health experts continue to encourage the use of face masks in public, some states have issued mandatory mask requirements, but there has been pushback from some Americans who refuse to cover up.
Several sheriffs have also said that making face masks compulsory is unconstitutional and unenforceable.
ABC news reports: As states continue to loosen restrictions, facial coverings have become a common requirement for employees, customers, or both. In almost every state, masks are required to some degree, as reflected by the movement #Masks4All.
This week, Palm Beach County in South Florida issued a countywide mask mandate. Facial coverings are now required in all businesses and government buildings, while using public transportation, and in public when social distancing is not possible. The emergency order noted that the county saw a “sharp increase” in positive COVID-19 cases in late May and June. The county has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Florida after Broward and Miami-Dade.
Palm Beach County commissioners unanimously passed the mandate on Tuesday, with one commissioner saying the majority of calls and emails she received were in favor of it, according to the Palm Beach Post. Still, the vote was preceded by protesters shouting “Freedom,” and dozens of local residents heatedly testified against mask-wearing during a more than three-hour public comment session.
“You do not have the authority to govern my body,” one said.
“You guys are overstepping your boundaries,” said another.
Several Florida counties, including Miami-Dade and Orange, have been sued for mandating masks. One lawyer told West Palm Beach ABC affiliate WPBF that there are plans to file suit this week against Palm Beach County.
A day after the Palm Beach County vote, demonstrators in Arizona gathered outside Scottsdale’s city hall to protest recent mask mandates from the city and its county, Maricopa. The Arizona county voted last Friday to require face coverings while in public due to increasing cases of COVID-19. According to the order, Maricopa County had 2,055 new cases on June 19, compared to 137 on June 1.
The protest was led by a local councilman, Guy Phillips, and some 200 people attended, according to the Arizona Republic.
Phillips addressed the crowd by saying, “I can’t breathe,” before taking his mask off and uttering, “Insanity.” He then went on to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, saying, “Anyone who would give up his freedom for temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.”
Phillips has since apologized for using the words “I can’t breathe,” which were spoken by George Floyd before he died at the hands of Minneapolis police last month.
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