People who refuse to wear masks across South Florida are facing trespassing charges and clashing with police, despite the governor’s order not to impose punishments on violators.
Vocal opponents have been handcuffed and maskless Floridians have been confronted by Police and been told to leave, or else.
Law enforcement officials say arrests are a “last resort,” but criminal defense attorneys contend police risk crossing the line and turning mask offenses into a crime. There is no law against not wearing, but there are laws against trespassing.
There's an ongoing fight against Palm Beach County’s mask mandate that could have implications for all of South Florida.
Only businesses, not individuals, can be hit with citations and fines for mask violations and only warnings have been issued for mask issues. Code enforcement officers try to educate businesses about the requirements, but that doesn’t mean people who choose to go mask-free have nothing to worry about. Businesses still can't enforce mask policiess for public health reasons, but officer’s can ask customers to leave the property, then it becomes a criminal trespass after warning.
Depending on the case, it could be punishable by up to a year in jail.
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