TO WEAR OR NOT TO WEAR? THE MASK IS THE QUESTION
Mohave County and the City of Kingman quickly considered Wednesday’s decision by Governor Doug Ducey that local government has the authority to make independent regulatory determinations regarding facial coverings during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The City announced Thursday morning that it will require that masks be worn by those inside city buildings. Mohave County Supervisors took less action after considerable discussion early Thursday afternoon.
Board members quickly stated they would not impose any mask requirement for citizens out in the general public.
``My personal opinion is that I don’t think we can mandate that our citizens wear a mask all the time,” said Board Chairman Jean Bishop. Supervisors Hildy Angius and Ron Gould agreed.
``I’m not interested in going forward with a mask mandate,” Gould said. ``I don’t believe that government mandates are effective and I believe in educating people on what they should do will be the most effective method of getting people to wear the mask.”
Supervisor Buster Johnson’s motion to require masks for those inside county buildings died for lack of a second. Board members questioned how non-compliance might be enforced and Bishop guaranteed that some citizens will refuse to wear masks, even if mandated.
By consensus, the Board directed staff to post signs and take other steps to encourage use of masks inside county buildings. The county will try, when possible, to provide masks free to the public.
Discussion during the Board’s special meeting somewhat reflected societal debate over the merits of restrictions and requirements involving masks.
``There’s a growing body of evidence and science that indicates that face masks or face coverings can reduce the transmission of the virus,” Department of Public Health Director Denise Burley said. ``Is it a perfect solution? No, it is not.”
Burley said use of masks likely protects others more than the individuals wearing them. Angius offered varying perspective.
``What I’m reading through my research is that social distancing is more important,” Angius said. ``It’s better to distance than wear the mask basically. I still think the jury is out. I’ll have to politely disagree with Denise Burley about what the evidence is showing.”
Public Information Officer Coleen Haines issued a news release spelling out Mayor Miles’ directive for the City of Kingman.
``Governor Ducey has provided cities and counties flexibility to decide whether wearing face masks is mandatory in our communities,” Miles stated. ``At this time, the City is not making mask wearing a requirement when out in public, but as stated above, masks will be mandatory inside our city government buildings.”