Blount Co. Sheriff tells deputies to not stop businesses or churches reopening against statewide order

Enforcement in Blount Co.

BLOUNT COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon says he knows he’ll take some heat for it, but he’s told deputies to not stop any businesses or churches that are reopening against statewide orders.

Moon posted the message on social media over the weekend, saying in part, “I’ve told my deputies NOT to go into businesses or churches and stop either.”

The order from Moon is a direct contradiction to Gov. Kay Ivey’s safer at home order, which began Thursday evening. The safer at home order allowed retail stores and beaches to reopen with restrictions, but hair salons, nail salons, inside dining at restaurants, churches and other businesses remain closed under the order.

Moon notes in the post that he knows his stance might not be favorable to some but it’s a decision he had to make.

Blount County has 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no reported deaths.

Moon’s full social media post is below:

“I’ve told my deputies NOT to go into businesses or churches and stop either. I know I’ll take some heat on this from the public, others in Law Enforcement, and possible the governor but I just can’t force myself to go after hard working people and churches for doing what they feel like is the best thing for them and their families or congregations.”

On Tuesday, the office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall sent WBRC FOX6 News the following statement when asked about law enforcement exercising discretion in enforcement of the state health order:

“Sheriffs and police chiefs throughout Alabama have endeavored to work alongside their citizens to protect public health without being heavy-handed and that should continue until the order is lifted. Health risks vary widely in every situation and local officials are best suited to make decisions about enforcement from the front lines. The Attorney General agrees that enforcement of the order against churches would be ill-advised. He has been assured that the State Health Order will soon be amended to better accommodate the free exercise of religion.”

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