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Judge Orders Liberty Tax Service In Lynn To Shut Down After Owner Prohibited Masks

LYNN (CBS) – A judge sided with the city of Lynn and ordered Liberty Tax Service to shut down after the business's owner told customers and employees they were not allowed to wear masks designed to prevent spread of COVID-19.

In April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Liberty Tax Service owner Ariana Murrell-Rosario $136,000 for "willfully failing to develop and implement measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus."

The Lynn Board of Health had asked the judge to enforce cease-and-desist orders, which the business had been ignoring.

The CDC has repeatedly stressed that people can have COVID without showing symptoms, and still spread it to others. Murell-Rosario insists her office understands how to "neutralize the virus," and said she believes the masks themselves can make people sick.

"There could be HIV virus on those masks. Herpes virus, hepatitis viruses," she told WBZ-TV in April.

The judge ruled in favor of the Board of Health Monday, saying that if Liberty Tax fails to comply with the order, Lynn Police are authorized to close the business.

In a separate order, the judge ruled to stay the decision. That means the order will not go into effect until an Appeals Court rules.

"The citizens of the Commonwealth are not permitted to take the law into their own hands, rejecting and refusing to adhere to laws with which they do not agree," the judge wrote. "Instead, every citizen is expected to follow the laws, rules, and regulations created and enacted by their elected and appointed officials. In fact, our governing systems would grind to a halt, if certain citizens were allowed to disregard and ignore the laws with which they disagreed."

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