Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni announced recently that his office would not enforce the statewide mask mandate, saying medical decisions such as wearing a mask should be personal and not political.
In a letter to the community, Zanni stated his views on the COVID-19 restrictions issued by the state. Zanni stated he believes decisions such as mandates should be made at a local level and not statewide.
"My office will not be enforcing the mask mandate as it is a medical issue and not a criminal issue my staff can or should be involved in," Zanni wrote. "I would ask that everyone seek the information they need to make an educated and informed decision on how they wish to deal with the current issues at hand."
In stating his case, Zanni referred to the Nuremberg Code, which he called "the most important document in history of ethics in medical research."
Zanni pointed out the Nuremberg Code specifically says voluntary consent is absolutely essential with regard to experimentation on humans. Zanni quoted a story in the Journal of Medicine that says the Nuremberg Code applies to COVID in a way that no one should be forced to take measures such as wearing a mask or getting vaccinated. Ultimately, consent remains the key, he explained.
Zanni also said he opposed the mandate requiring school children to wear masks.
"The mandate to reassert the donning of face masks is not medically done or practical,' the sheriff wrote. "It is a repugnant imposition on young school children, who by the every known medical study, data or statistics available show that children are less impacted from COVID that they are the seasonal flu or other common malady. We don't mask our school population for the flu or colds."
Zanni said his belief is decisions regarding COVID or other medical issues should be made at the local level, not by the state.
"I believe it is in the best interest of Coos County and the state of Oregon that these types of public health/safety decisions are made by local governments or by the individual themselves," Zanni wrote. "The vast majority of voters support the rights of parents and their right to decide whether their child should wear a mask, and what they choose to put in their body. The citizens believe that the decisions of local leaders are best for our local community as the governor previously stated and committed to."
Zanni also said he was extremely concerned with the state's mandate regarding required vaccinations for government employees and healthcare workers.
"I am extremely concerned over the number of state and local employees who have indicated they intend to walk off or leave their duties if coerced into getting vaccinated," Zanni wrote. "What would that impact be? Therefore it is my commitment that it is the responsibility and the right of each and every Coos County citizen to decide if they wish to be vaccinated or wear a mask."