The sheriff in a central Florida COVID-19 hot spot has issued a directive prohibiting deputies, staff and visitors to department offices from wearing protective face masks, an order that came as a local mayor and city council squared off over a mask ordinance for businesses. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods sent an email Tuesday informing the approximately 900 people working in the department that "when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn," the Ocala Star-Banner reports. Woods added that "effective immediately, any individual walking in to any one of our lobbies (which includes the main office and all district offices) that is wearing a mask will be asked to remove it." "[I]n light of the current events when it comes to the sentiment and/or hatred toward law enforcement in our country today, this is being done to ensure there is clear communication and for identification purposes of any individual walking into a lobby," he said. "We can debate and argue all day of why and why not," Woods added. "The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn't."