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Decatur face mask ordinance discussed, not voted on

Many had expected that the Decatur City Council would put the mandatory mask ordinance to vote Monday. They didn't.

Posted: Jul 6, 2020 11:05 PM
Updated: Jul 7, 2020 7:34 AM

Monday, many expected the Decatur City Council to vote on a proposed mandatory mask-wearing ordinance. It didn't happen.

It was exactly one week ago, Monday, when the city council voted in favor of a resolution promoting the wearing of masks, and said making it mandatory could be the next step.

The Decatur City Council discussed the mandatory mask ordinance during a work session Monday, but did not vote on it.

In that time, Morgan County has seen its number of positive coronavirus cases increase by 182, and two more deaths in the county have been attributed to the virus.

On Monday, city council members said they didn't get to a vote on a mask ordinance because there was so much else to discuss on tonight's meeting agenda.

During the meeting, the council addressed public hearings and spent almost two hours talking about ambulance response times, part of an appeal hearing.

At 4 p.m., a special work session was held to discuss a draft of the city's mandatory mask-wearing ordinance. They talked about the possibilities of having it expire 30 days after it passed and adding exceptions for eating in restaurants or kids playing on a ball field.

People like Tracy Murcks felt it was important to sit in on the session to voice her opinion that not everyone is in favor of the ordinance. She says it doesn't matter if the council continues to postpone the vote.

"The city council wants to pass it and so that's what they're going to eventually do, no matter what the majority wants,” Murcks said. “And that's what bothers me - if they are here for the people, then they should go along with what the majority of the people say."

Others, like Chiriga Vinson, say it's time something is done.

"Personally, it's a little upsetting that we just don't go ahead and do what I think we need to do,” she said. “However, I do understand the seriousness of this issue and I think it's the responsibility of the city council to weigh all options as far as this mask ordinance is concerned."

When asked to talk about the proposed ordinance, members of the city council said they didn’t have time Monday night.

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