Mobile medical community urges city council to pass mask mandate

(WPMI) Mobile medical community urges city council to pass mask mandate
(WPMI){ }Mobile medical community urges city council to pass mask mandate

Tuesday, there was a rare showing of force from the medical community before Mobile City Council. Representatives from the Medical Society of Mobile, area hospitals and the Mobile County Health Department all urged city leaders to act now and mandate mask wearing in public.

Council members say they've been getting a lot of push back from constituents.

"Those in opposition overwhelmingly are saying they don't think masks work, and they cite all sorts of experts," said council member Gina Gregory.

"The studies I'm quoting come from peer reviewed journals. And that's what the CDC used. So you could have the International Journal of Potato Chips and Macaroni and Cheese and you can get your paper published but that doesn't mean the findings are going to stand the challenge of vigorous academic review," said Dr. George Koulianos representing the Medical Society of Mobile.

Passionate opponents also voiced their opinions.

"Taking away my freedom that others fought and died for should not include wearing a mask," said one citizen who spoke.

"If you think you have the right to do whatever you want to do, don't buy no tag for your car, don't get no driver's license, don't turn your lights on at night and see how far down the road you get," said council member Fred Richardson.

Several council members said they would vote yes, but due to procedural rules, they will not be able to vote until Wednesday at a special called meeting. That's ahead of the 4th of the July holiday weekend, when health officials fear we'll see more spread during gatherings.

Council member John Williams was the only one to signal he's a no vote.

"I'm not against masks. I'm simply against our government saying you got to wear a mask. You have to wear a mask in a parking lot," said Williams.

Williams also raised the issue of how could the city possibly make everyone wear masks in public? The proposal before the council would fine violators.

"I'm a realist," said Williams. "I just don't believe we can enforce this."

Last month Mayor Sandy Stimpson made the same point when, at that time, he said he opposed mandating masks.

Stimpson says he's since changed his view on masks as cases in Mobile County spike. A record was set with 118 new cases reported Tuesday. But he's punting the conversation about enforcement to Wednesday to give him time to have what he called "internal conversations."

"It is difficult to enforce, but I would rather address that tomorrow," said Stimpson.

Expect discussions Wednesday to include not just how to enforce, but also where in the city it should be enforced, as well as making small children wear them, as the proposal calls for now.