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Rockland Council holds off on face covering mandate

By Stephen Betts | Jun 23, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Rockland City Council is considering requiring people to wear face coverings.

Rockland — The Rockland City Council will hold off for two weeks before it considers a local requirement that face coverings be worn in public places.

The Council agreed Monday, June 22, to hold off a formal vote until July 6.

Last week, the Council agreed informally that businesses that use public property enforce the state requirement that face coverings be worn. But the formal order on the June 22 agenda went beyond that and required it for people in all public spaces.

Councilor Valli Geiger said the order was more sweeping than she proposed but that the newer version follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

"There are a lot of people voicing concerns about people not wearing masks," Geiger said.

Councilor Nate Davis said the revised order was broader than expected and would mandate wearing one while taking a walk outside.

Geiger said she heard of restaurants where the staffs do not wear masks with one saying that all the workers had medical exemptions not to wear. She did not identify the restaurant.

Councilor Ed Glaser said he would not oppose the expanded version, saying people who are walking downtown, where there are other people, or in parks should be wearing face coverings.

"I'm disappointed in how many people are not wearing face coverings," he said.

Councilor Ben Dorr said he would not want to penalize people who cannot afford face coverings. He asked if the city could provide those by having police officers distribute them to people who are not wearing them in public spaces and educate them about the requirement.

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Comments (13)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jun 25, 2020 08:06

Yesterday Maine CDC said municipalities can apply for $ to help enforce mask wearing. Is council aware of this resource?

Also, yesterday, despite low numbers of cases, Maine CDC recommends masks and social distancing.

-Phyllis Merriam

Posted by: Ben and Leslie Fuller | Jun 25, 2020 06:33

When you look at the science transmission equals the amount of the virus times the time of exposure. Ephemeral contacts outside are low risk, extended contact under a roof is not. What would be useful is for the city council to help businesses with the mandated mask order when social distancing is not possible. Some like my barber, enforce a no mask no admittance policy. Some have chosen not to put their employees at risk of confrontation by allowing the maskless in despite clear signage saying no admittance. Perhaps these businesses could do what bars used to do: hire door attendants, aka bouncers. What if the city had an officer handing out warnings at these places? With a strict mask policy quarantines and tests for our guests would not be needed.

Minimally, it would be a public service for the CG to let people know the businesses that enforce a no mask no admittance policy and those that have good signage in place that asks this. This would help make it possible for readers to make decisions about their patronage.

Posted by: Nicole Jeanette Boutin | Jun 24, 2020 17:10

Not going to happen...Jim Raye

Posted by: Reggie Montgomery | Jun 24, 2020 09:55

With only two active cases in Knox county and empty streets in Rockland, I really can't see the need for a mask requirement. If there were people around and social distancing could not be achieved I could understand a requirement by the city. The state and the CDC say masks are required only where social distancing cannot be achieved.

Posted by: Angela Nilles | Jun 24, 2020 09:38

Please wear masks, everyone. Masking and social distancing are the only tools we have to fight this virus.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 24, 2020 09:12

FYI... There are 8 presumptive cases of Covid-19 in the Castine area. The eight were guests who attended a small wedding (24 in all in attendance) on Nautilus Island may have shopped/dined in Castine and are now quarantined on Nautilus. The Castine town office made the announcement yesterday.

Posted by: Deborah A McKenney | Jun 23, 2020 20:55

Totally agree with all of you !  Give a heads up to those establishments that are following the rules. And, if need be, require doctors notes for those working with the public that claim medical exemptions.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 23, 2020 14:31

Resolver attitude: Stay home and play out of the fray. If finding out who the restaurant is whose employees all were exempted will never enter their doors again. Please, post if you know who it is so we can be forewarned.

Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Jun 23, 2020 12:01

If no one is around, it is not necessary to have a face covering. If people could have around their  neck, they could pull up if someone comes near.  I miss talking to people in the park because they have no masks on.  It increases the isolation.

Posted by: Kathleen Jones | Jun 23, 2020 11:56

I thought the CDC guidelines indicated while walking outside and social distancing is maintained, face coverings are not required.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jun 23, 2020 11:43

Why is city council opting out of a timely vote to require masks in public places to protect residents, visitors and tourists in Rockland? There are increasing rates of people going mask less in Rockland despite CDC guidelines. City council cannot have it both ways - to be popular or protective is your choice. Masks are not costly. The cost of COVID-19 is a far higher price. Hannaford has been offering one-time-use masks that are quite reasonable. Youtube has many tutorials to make homemade non-sewing masks. I boycott businesses that allow mask less customers and have friends that also take this protective position.

Posted by: George Terrien | Jun 23, 2020 11:13

Good for Rockland and our Council and Manager!
Fighting the virus differs hugely from preventing, say, tetanus. One requires social commitment, working the statistics, with no assurance that any individual will be spared. The other offers one-for-one protection: get an anti-tetanus shot, and you will almost certainly be protected. One requires collective request, of others if not one's self. The other is up to you, both in this way a little like wearing a helmet while riding a two-wheeler (or, for a child, even a tricycle).
Nanny-state? NO, but for me, my state is Maine, and I want to feel reasonably safe when I do anything risky, even just while driving a car sober.

I strongly support banning people from Rockland who do not respect the health of others.
As for those who think I should get over asking people not to go out without a mask (just as I hope people will not drive while drunk), I say this: Love thy neighbor, even if you would not love yourself as much.
And one more thing--I hope the Council's ordinance includes a description of what a mask needs to be, and how it must be worn. I have seen some pretty sorry excuses for masks around town, even in my rare excursions. And businesses, I hope this ordinance will allow you to avoid choosing between insulting customers and enhancing the safety of your workplaces and shops, for your customers, your employees, and yourselves, as well as me.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jun 23, 2020 09:03

Not being able to afford a mask is not an excuse as many establishments offer them free. Stores need to place health above profits and require masks. Until there is a solution to covid 19 we all need to protect each other. I wear a mask for your protection, it would be nice to others reciprocate.

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