A judge says Palm Beach County’s mask mandate is constitutional.
A group of people sued to get a temporary injunction to halt the order, arguing it violated an individual’s right to privacy, religious freedom, right to speech, due process, equal protection under the law.
Circuit Court Judge John S. Kastrenakes ruled “the right to be free from governmental intrusion does not automatically or completely shield an individual’s conduct from regulation.” The judge added, “…constitutional rights and the ideals of limited government do not absolve a citizen from the real-world consequences of their individual choices, or otherwise allow them to wholly shirk their social obligation to their fellow Americans or to society as a whole. This is particularly true when one’s individual choices can result in drastic, costly, and sometimes, deadly consequences to others.”
The face mask issue sparked heated debate in Palm Beach County and along the Treasure Coast over the past few months. One man told county leaders he didn’t want to be muzzled like a “mad dog.”
On Monday, Florida reported more than 6,000 deaths and 423,000 cases of the virus.
The order, voted on in late June, requires face masks in public places to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, county leaders issued an emergency order to extend it another 30 days until Aug. 23.