Commissioners debate masks
July 8, 2020
Responding to a recent increase in COVID-19 infections, the Sweetwater County commissioners debated a resolution mandating people visiting county buildings to wear masks while inside, ultimately passing it back to the county’s human resources office.
According to the resolution, county employees would have to wear a face covering, but can have it removed if they’re in their private office of in another area isolated from the public. The mandate would have also required employees traveling to perform their duties to wear a mask at any time they’re in contact with the public or county employees.
“We should not require people coming into the building to have to wear face masks even though we would recommend it,” Commissioner Wally Johnson said.
He added that he doesn’t agree with requiring employees to wear face masks and residents have freedoms to not be forced to wear a face mask.
Commissioner Jeff Smith also questioned how it would be enforced as it goes beyond the state health officer’s orders.
According to Deputy Sweetwater County Attorney John DeLeon, the language in the resolution can be changed from mandatory to discretionary, while allowing some emphasis on mask recommendations, but include options for county employees to use social distancing if they are not wearing a mask.
Johnson later recommended the commissioners revise the resolution.