Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields Saturday issued the following statement clarifying the enforcement of face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Apparently there has been some confusion and misinterpretation from my statement that I made yesterday. While my stance has not changed, I would like to clarify further.
I have attached the enforcement portion of Executive Order 147 below.
You will see that law enforcement can not charge individuals for failing to wear a mask. You will also see that it is the responsibility of the business owners to enforce employees and patrons to wear masks, and I support them and will assist them if a patron fails to wear a mask and they refuse them service. That assistance will be in the form of us enforcing trespassing laws.
Store owners always have the right to refuse service, and I feel confident they will do their best to keep their patrons safe. I encourage people to read the enforcement portion of the Executive Order in its entirety.
F. Enforcement of Face Covering Requirements.
1. Citations under this Section shall be written only to businesses or organizations that fail to enforce the requirement to wear Face Coverings. Operators of businesses and organizations are entitled to rely on their customers or patrons’ statements about whether or not they are excepted from the Face Covering requirements, and businesses and organizations do not violate this Executive Order if they rely on such statements.
2. Law enforcement personnel are not authorized to criminally enforce the Face Covering requirements of this Executive Order against individual workers, customers, or patrons.
3. 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 (other than N.C. Gen. Stat.§ 14-288.20A) that the worker, customer, or patron may violate.
Read the full Executive Order No. 147 in its entirety.
To read Sheriff Fields previous statement, please click the link/picture below.
Feature photo credit Moore County Law Enforcement Officers Association.