Facemask mandate

The city of Port Lavaca forces businesses within the city limits to require their customers to wear a facemask. Although the city is mandating it, there is no punishment for businesses or customers that do not comply. (Contributed photo)

Port Lavaca mandates people to wear masks in businesses, county does not

An important debate has been going on around our nation about wearing and not wearing a facemask in an attempt to slow down the recent spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. As more municipalities and counties begin mandating people to wear a facemask, our local officials weighed in on the subject.

The city of Port Lavaca responded in a big way, forcing businesses within the city limits to require their customers to wear a facemask. Although the city is mandating it, there is no punishment for businesses or customers that do not comply.

Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow said he was asked by Formosa Plastics, in particular, to implement some kind of mandate due to the possible decrease in the workforce because of COVID-19.

During the city council’s special meeting on Monday, the council approved the mandate in a 3-2 vote. Councilmembers Tim Dent, Rosie Padron, and Allen Tippit voted for, while Councilmen Ken Barr and Jim Ward voted against the mandate. Councilman Jerry Smith was not in attendance to vote.

The mandate went into effect on Monday at midnight and will last for 30 days.

While the city passed an order to mandating people to wear masks, Calhoun County Judge Richard Meyer said the county would not be enforcing such a mandate.

“As the governor’s order states, it is up to the individual businesses to require patrons to wear masks or not, “Meyer said.

Memorial Medical Center’s Chief of Nursing Officer Erin Clevenger weighed in with her expert medical opinion on the subject. She believes that wearing a mask is a helpful resource for slowing the spread of the virus.

That is the consensus of nearly all local doctors and health officials.

“There are a lot of myths going around about masks doing more harm than good, or not really helping slow the spread, but these are not facts. I encourage people to use scientific and medical expertise rather than misleading posts on social media when they are making their decisions about masks,” Clevenger said.

She also explained that masks need to be cleaned to work correctly and be washed or disposed of when soiled to be effective.