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Some West Ky. Sheriff’s Offices Say They Don’t Have Legal Authority To Enforce State Mask Mandate

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  Sheriff’s offices in some west Kentucky counties say they will not enforce a state mask mandate issued Friday by Governor Andy Beshear, some saying law enforcement doesn’t have the legal authority to do so.


A Statement of Emergency signed by Governor Andy Beshear discloses what penalties will be issued to any person who violates the state mask mandate. The mandate went into effect July 10, and requires people wear masks in public places to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Beshear said the order will run for 30 days. 


Those who violate the mask mandate will receive a warning for the first offense, a fine of $50 for the second offense, a $75 fine for the third offense, and a $100 fine for any subsequent offense. 


The Sheriff’s offices of Marshall County, McLean County, Graves County, and Carlisle County say they will not be enforcing the governor’s order to wear a mask. 


McLean County Sheriff Ken Frizzell asked the public in a Facebook post to not call 911, dispatch, or his  office to report people not wearing masks or businesses not enforcing mask use. He said the order is not a law, and therefore it is not enforceable by law enforcement. Frizzell said if anyone who would like to report noncompliance regarding mask use should call the governor’s office or the local health department. 


“You can not lawfully be arrested or cited simply for not wearing a mask. A business can require them for service. A lot like the no shoes, no shirt, no service.” Frizzle wrote.  “A business can refuse service and ask you to leave. If you refuse to leave you are then committing the crime of trespassing, which you can be arrested for.” 


Marshall County Sheriff Eddie McGuire said in a post his office has no authority to enforce the order. He said state and local health officials are responsible for enforcement. 


“The Sheriff's Office does not have the authority to make someone wear a mask even if the restraining order is deemed invalid,” McGuire said.


Hannah is a Murray State Journalism major. She found her place in radio during her second year in Murray. She is from Herndon, KY, a small farming community on the Kentucky/Tennessee stateline.
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