Monroe County Mayor Mitch Ingram has decided not to mandate the use of masks while out in public.
According to a press release sent to The Advocate & Democrat, Ingram has made the decision not to act on the authority granted by Gov. Bill Lee in Executive Order 54. The order gives county mayors the right to mandate the use of masks by citizens while they are out in public.
“We feel wearing a mask in public is a decision and choice to be made by each individual, just as the owners and managers of businesses within the county have the choice to require masks to receive service in their establishment,” Ingram said via the release. “However, for the safety and health of our loved ones, neighbors and visitors, it is necessary for each citizen and visitor to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
During the month of June, the number of positive cases increased by 67.
“This is a 103% increase in cases in just 30 days and we feel a significant increase, such as this, is cause for concern and should serve as a reminder to take this pandemic seriously,” Ingram continued in the release. “Due to rapid transmission throughout the country, state and county it is of the most importance that we as citizens of Monroe County become more unified in the fight to protect ourselves, our families and our most vulnerable population against COVID-19.”
Continuing social distancing, proper hand washing and the use of masks when in public are some of the things to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Masks can be obtained for free from the health department.
According to the institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, 24,171 deaths could be avoided in the United States by Oct. 1, 2020 if 95% of people wore masks in public.
“With knowledge such as this, it is strongly encouraged that those who can wear a mask do so,” the release stated. “If you have an underlying condition that makes you more susceptible, please take the necessary precautions to keep yourself as safe as possible.”
Ingram believes each citizen has more responsibility to protect themselves from the virus as more businesses begin to open and schools begin to start back.
“Wearing a mask protects the people we may come in contact with. Wearing a mask is caring for your community and your loved ones,” said Ingram.
“As your mayor, I pledge to lead by example moving forward by wearing my mask when social distancing cannot be accomplished. I challenge each of you to do the same. We can slow the spread of COVID-19 together.”