While Forsyth’s city council imposes a mask mandate, Monroe County sheriff Brad Freeman said his deputies cannot enforce it in the city and won’t enforce it in the county.
“My deputies won’t be saying anything to anybody about not wearing a mask,” Freeman told the Reporter. “We have more important things to do than walk around and enforce a mask ordinance that may or may not be constitutional from a law enforcement point of view.”
Asked what would be his advice to county commissioners if they follow the city in considering a mask ordinance, Freeman said he would say: “It would be a waste of time and money.”
Freeman said the mask requirements allow so many opt outs that they’re virtually unenforceable. For instance, said Freeman, the Bibb County mask ordinance allows people to opt out for health or religious reasons.
“So we’d have to get a search warrant for his health records for a $25 fine?” asked Freeman.
Freeman said the ordinance is just a warm fuzzy move for the city council.
“They can do what they want to do, but it’s more just a feel good thing,” said the sheriff.
“What really have you accomplished?” asked Freeman. “The governor is encouraging you to wear a mask. Why do you have to codify everything into law?” Mayor Eric Wilson has until Friday to sign two bills passed by council last week requiring masks in city buildings and participating private businesses. He did not respond to requests to know his intentions. The Forsyth Police Department would be charged with enforcing the city’s mask ordinance.