Jasper face mask resolution released by city


The Jasper City Council was given copies of a proposed face mask resolution that it will take up Tuesday.

Wording of the resolution was released for the first time at Thursday's council work session, as well as the agenda for the meeting.

The resolution said the city's Medical Clinic Board has signed a resolution saying it recommends the mayor and council to suggest use of face coverings and masks and continued social distancing. The Medical Clinic Board is made up of three people, two of whom are seasoned physicians, O'Mary said, saying they voted earlier in the week to endorse the resolution. 

It also notes face coverings was mandated by the state May 21 for businesses providing close-contact services, athletic facilities, entertainment venues, child care centers and various other business activities. 

Also the document says the city has been notified by medical personnel and hospital representatives of the increasing need to hospitalize people with COVID-19 symptoms. 

The resolution resolves the council (with emphasis in the wording) "strongly urge its business leaders and employees, non-profit organization leaders and employees, faith based organization members, educational institution leaders and employees, and residents to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering/mask" in specified public places:

"a. Indoor spaces of businesses or venues open to the general public, including but not limited to store, bars, and restaurants, entertainment venues, public meeting spaces, government buildings, civic centers, entertainment venues.

"b. Outdoor areas open to the general public where 10 or more persons are gathered and unable to maintain a distance of 6 or more feet between people not from the same household.

"c. Transportation service available to the public." 

Williams said it is a resolution and not an order. "It is not a mandate," she said. 

O'Mary said the Jefferson County mask order makes sense to him and is not complex. "It is a common sense approach to wearing masks," he said. If the city does not get the results, he said the city can come back to the table and consider a mandate to wear masks. 

The mayor said the mayors of the 10 largest cities in Alabama will recommend Gov. Kay Ivey issue a statewide mandate for masks. He said if Ivey takes actions before the the council can come back to the idea, "then it becomes a non-issue for us." 

"If I had a recommendation, if we got to the point of mandating that we wear masks, I would say look really hard at the mask order from Jefferson County, because it makes a lot of sense," he said.

On the question of whether the orders are enforceable, he said, "I don't know. We'll leave that to the legal folks to decide that. But I think passing this resolution is the right thing to do. The COVID virus makes no distinction between rich and poor. It makes no distinction between white and black. But it makes a big distinction between the responsible and the irresponsible, and what this resolution is doing is calling on folks to be responsible."