Delaware County Supervisors Reject Mask Mandate

There will be no countywide mask mandate in Delaware County at this time.

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected the mask mandate by a vote of 3-0.

The mandate was recommended to the County Supervisors last Monday by the Delaware County Board of Health. The Board of Health was not asking for the mandate to be an enforceable punishment against the county’s citizens, but rather a joint effort between the Board of Health, the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement.

At Monday’s Supervisors meeting, Delaware County Public Health Coordinator Charity Loecke began the mask mandate discussion by sharing that the county’s positivity rate was down, but added that “now is not the time to let our guard down”. Regional Medical Center’s Dr. Nicole Salow and Dr. Scot Christiansen said the stress on the local healthcare system has been very high and wearing masks is a simple show of support for healthcare workers that can make a real impact on lessening their workload. The White House Coronavirus Task Force continues to list Delaware County in the Red Zone, with recommendations to increase mitigation strategies, including a mask mandate.

Nearly two dozen people attended the meeting in the Delaware County Courtroom, with a couple Board of Health members speaking in favor and five residents speaking against it. At least two of the residents against the mask mandate said it would be government overreach, while another thought Delaware County residents were already doing a good job of wearing masks. In the days leading up to the meeting, each County Supervisor had also taken nearly two dozen phone calls about the mask mandate and the County received 35 to 40 emails – and of all those responses, only three people were in favor of it.

Helmrichs says she has not seen this kind of emotional response from county residents on an issue since the Lake Delhi dam breach in 2010.

After considering all the public comments, the County Supervisors took a vote, with all three voting against it.

Supervisor Jeff Madlom:

Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs:

And Supervisor Pete Buschmann:

 

While Delaware County has chosen not to implement a countywide mask mandate, the Governor’s limited mask mandate still remains in effect – which means everyone indoors who cannot social distance for more than 15 minutes must wear a mask.

 

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