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Monticello will not have face mask requirement

A proposed face mask order for the Town of Monticello fell short Monday night after town board members heard from some business owners.
Mayor Martha Watts was prepared to issue an executive order requiring masks in public places around town.
She said, “The numbers being presented are skewed and manipulated, but doing nothing has not served us well. I don’t want our small businesses to be closed again.”
She asked, what would it hurt to wear a mask?
She indicated an executive order from her office would be coming later in the week requiring face masks in public places.
However, some discussion followed her comments.
Questions also arose as to whether churches would be included in the order.
Tony Norwood, Lawrence County’s director of emergency management, pointed out that some people cannot wear masks for medical reasons, and their right to worship would be infringed upon.
Watts said she did not intend to dictate what churches did. In response, Norwood continued that if public places were under the ordinance, the churches would be considered public places.
Alderwoman Renea Rayborn asked Watts to please talk to the mom and pop businesses in town before issuing an order.
Marcus Killingsworth, owner of Monticello Pawn and Outdoors, questioned why customers who can make their own decisions and qualify to purchase firearms should be told they must wear a mask. He also asked why Watts was issuing an executive order instead of having the board vote on the measure.
Mullins made the point that some businesses are different than the grocery store, dollar stores, and other high traffic locations.
Alderwoman Judy Grimes said the town is trying to help others be safe and to help each other.
Norwood said the national Centers for Disease Control says that wearing masks saves lives.
The board moved on from the discussion to other business but after the meeting, Watts decided not to issue the order, saying it would be overturned by a 3-2 vote at the next meeting.
The board directed that signs saying face coverings are recommended before entering be placed on every business door, Watts said.
Other Business
Aldermen approved a request by Tim Lea of the Abner W. Cooper American Legion Post to hang banners for Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day.
Lea said the annual Veteran’s Day ceremony has been canceled for this year, and the post is finding other ways to observe the day. The post will provide banners and mounting hardware, and town crews will hang the banners. This will be a more visible way to celebrate our veterans and on Memorial Day, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The banners will be hung from the Civic Center to the Courthouse.

Read the full story in the July 22, 2020 E-Edition