The Clinton City Council met at Noon today (11/20) for a Special Meeting to discuss Bill No. 2020-31 – an Ordinance of the City of Clinton establishing a requirement for face coverings to control and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The first reading of the bill was read with Councilman Jackson proposing a motion to accept the bill effective upon the final passing of the bill and stay in effect as long as the Civil Emergency is active. Dr. Ken Scott seconded Jackson’s motion.
Many offices from around the county spoke to the council including Peggy Bowles of the Henry County Health Center, Jim Stone the Henry County Commissioner, Lynnette Hayes with GVMH, and Police Chief Kevin Miller.
Peggy Bowles shared that the Henry County Health Center was in favor of a mask mandate but was questioned to why the Health Center hasn’t issued any regulations. Peggy shared that the board hadn’t had time to discuss issuing such regulations and deferred to the County Commission.
Jim Stone spoke and raised concern on how a mask mandate will be regulated and who would be the reasonable party for issuing tickets, and enforcing the mandate. He stated that the influx of violations would increase the workload for the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
Lynnette Hayes shared the GVMH is in favor of a mask mandate to slow down the infection rate that our county is experiencing and would hope to open up more hospital beds to be able to provide care for others with non-COVID health issues. She stated the GVMH expects a lot of PTSD cases following the pandemic due to the lack of access to loved one passing away in hospitals and nursing homes.
Kevin Miller shared that he doesn’t see how it would be possible to enforce a mask mandate. He stated that he believed it is a personal responsibility of everyone to wear a mask. He has a small force of officers and the job of policing everyone without a mask would be hard to uphold. Kevin shared a story about one of his code enforcement officers getting a gun pulled on them for simply asking a citizen to mow their lawn. He would expect the citizen to be even more unruly with this mandate. He stated that if the city were to pass this mandate, he and his officers would do their best to uphold the ordinance.
Roll call was taken and the following council persons were in favor of the first reading Bill No. 2020-31, Raysik, Scott, Jackson, Moberly, Smith, and Pereles. Council person Wilson voted no. Council person Henry was not present.
The second reading of Bill No. 2020-31 will be read at a follow up Special Council Meeting being held at the Benson Center on Monday November 23rd at 1pm.