COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As coronavirus cases continue to climb in Muscogee County, the mayor reinstated enforcement of the mask mandate, meaning if you’re out in public and within six feet of others, you have to wear a mask.
Enforcement of a city-wide mask mandate began at noon Friday. Mayor Skip Henderson said if you take a look at the trends, the numbers speak for themselves.
“I always wear a mask no matter where I go,” Jimmy Mead said.
Mead is ahead of the curve, already wearing his CSU mask as he learns the mask mandate is back in the Fountain City.
“We never really took the enforcement off the books, but we are announcing to people we will begin enforcing it again,” Henderson said.
Henderson said his office keeps an eagle eye on the COVID-19 numbers. A graph provided by the mayor’s office shows the decline in coronavirus cases while the original mask mandate was in play, and the slight uptick since enforcement came to a halt late October. With the number of cases per 100,000 people now above the state’s threshold, Henderson said law enforcement can begin asking people to wear a mask.
“What it applies to is anybody inside a commercial facility, unless they post a sign indicating they opt out of enforcement, and it applies to people outside if they are not socially distanced,” Henderson said.
Henderson said the goal is to keep masks an education tool, not a political weapon.
“I feel like it’s a good idea because it’s part of our safety,” Joseph Banks said. “A lot of people are being killed and dying over this, so it’s important we wear our masks in public.”
“I think it’s a good thing,” Allie Bone added. “We’ve had it for so long, so people are already used to wearing the masks.”
“I think it’s a very good thing to do because that virus, I don’t think too many people are taking it serious, and it is very serious. So, we need to do everything we can to to protect ourselves and others,” Ballarie Ingram said.
Henderson said they obviously cannot enforce mask mandates inside your home during the holiday season, but he is encouraging people to wear their mask if they’re around people who they don’t live with. He said it’s not a political tool, it’s about keeping our community safe.