MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — Mask ordinances have been a controversial topic since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and now Marianna is the latest to adopt a mask mandate.
With a supermajority vote, the Marianna City Commission was able to pass an emergency mask mandate at their meeting Tuesday night.
This comes after the commission’s first attempt to pass a mask mandate in August but the mandate fell short one vote.
Local doctor, Richard Christopher, addressed the commission at Tuesday’s meeting about why the medical community says wearing facemasks is a necessity in battling COVID-19.
“I can guarantee that almost 90 percent of it is just transmitted by us breathing on each other, and the masks clearly reduce that and decrease that significantly,” Christopher said.
Christopher also added that around 60 people have died from the virus at Jackson Hospital and at times, 12 to 13 people were on ventilators.
“To me and to the rest of the medical community, masks are not a political issue, it’s not a convenience issue, it’s a healthcare issue,” Christopher said.
The mask ordinance was originally supposed to be brought to a vote in October after being presented at Tuesday’s meeting. However, Commissioner John Roberts, moved to make the mandate an emergency mandate so the city could begin enforcing it sooner.
Mayor Travis Ephriam thinks Christopher’s words and time passing from last month’s mask ordinance attempt to now, may have changed the minds of some of the commissioners.
“I think the commission is very concerned about the impact of covid on our community we’ve seen it in our hospitals and now with school starting back anything we can do to mitigate the spread of the disease will be best for our community in the long run,” Ephriam said.
The new ordinance requires only employees and owners of businesses to wear masks while working. Customers are suggested to wear them, but it is not required. The ordinance will last until December 31st of this year. To read our prior report on the mask mandate, click here.