City Board of Health asked to draft citywide mask mandate for Dec. 1 meeting

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Several councilors were onside in City Hall during Tuesday night's workshop, but most attended the meeting remotely. (City video screenshot)

ROCHESTER - Rochester's Board of Health will draft an emergency mask mandate to be considered at the next City Council meeting on Dec. 1, councilors decided Tuesday night.

The health board will also be asked to consider language that would require masks at city parks and playgrounds.

Meanwhile, City Manager Blaine Cox announced at the end of last night's workshop that effective immediately masks will be required in public areas of all city owned buildings.

The discussion arose due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the city, now numbered at 33, according to EOC and Rochester Fire Chief Mark Klose.

Rochester Mayor Caroline McCarley brought forth the issue, noting that cases are on the rise across the state and nation.

City Councilors were divided over whether a citywide mask mandate was the right way to go, but all agreed it would be an appropriate requirement for city owned buildings.

Many also voiced concerns over who would enforce such a mandate, and no councilors showed an appetite for fining mask violators.

City Councilor Doug Lachance voiced the strongest support for a mask mandate.

"We enforce a drinking age, we don't allow people to drink and drive or smoke in airplanes or public buildings, so the mask issue is an issue of public health, not an issue of civil liberties," he said. "I don't believe it violates any constitutional right, so so if it's good public health policy to require masks I think we should go ahead and require them."

Lachance said he didn't support fining violators.

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