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Middlesex board passes resolution encouraging use of face masks

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Middlesex County Board of Supervisors voted by a 3-2 margin on April 30 to approve a resolution to encourage citizens to wear masks when out in the public and in retail stores. The vote came during an emergency called meeting.

The resolution was passed in lieu of a proposed ordinance on the table that would have required all citizens to wear masks and carried with it fines and penalties.

The resolution encourages Middlesex County store owners to require their clientele to wear masks inside their stores and to place signage on front doors or in visible locations inside of the store to let customers know they must wear masks inside their facilities.

Over the next few weeks, supervisors agreed to watch to see if citizens in their districts are wearing masks out in public to determine if people are adhering to a nationwide alert by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging the wearing of masks during this pandemic.

If county citizens and visitors do not show support on their own for wearing masks and the CDC recommendation continued to support wearing masks, the board suggested it might reconsider and approve a stricter ordinance requiring masks.

At the meeting, conducted using the Zoom conferencing platform, numerous citizens spoke, pro and con, on the issue. Pinetop District Supervisor Lud Kimbrough, Hartfield Supervisor John Koontz and Saluda District Supervisor Pete Mansfield voted in favor of the resolution, while Jamaica District Supervisor Wayne Jessie and Harmony Village Supervisor Reggie Williams said they wanted more stringent action and voted against it.