Wichita County commissioners continue discussions of considering mandatory mask ordinance

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita County commissioners and other local officials discuss if they should make masks mandatory for the public.

When Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom spoke with county commissioners about considering an order to make masks mandatory, county commissioners did not like the idea. But County commissioners know if cases continue to rise, they must be proactive.

Since COVID-19 stay at home orders were lifted, Governor Abbott has said that counties cannot make any orders that are stricter than state orders. But Bexar County and other counties have put orders into effect that make masks mandatory in all businesses.

“Judge, is that mask deal is that for every business now?,” Wichita County Precinct 3 Commissioner Barry Mahler asked Judge Gossom during the county commissioners meeting.

“That is in those counties that have passed that order. The governor said that (Bexar county judge) Judge Wolff figured out the riddle in his order. That’s an impressive statement,” Gossom said.

Governor Abbott has said that counties have always had the ability to require stores and businesses to require masks. But when Gossom brought this idea to county commissioners, they did not approve.

“It’s only a fine only deal. But I see that as putting everybody at risk,” Gossom told Mahler during the meeting.

“It puts our law enforcement in a bad position. It puts our business at risk. I mean what a terrible, terrible idea,” Mahler said.

“But they’ve done Dallas. I understand Houston has an order and Hidalgo and maybe one other county,” Gossom said.

As these discussions go on for commissioners, they still have not come to one opinion yet.

“I don’t know that we have formed that or studied it well enough to give us a solid opinion on what we should or shouldn’t do,” Wichita County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jeff Watts said. “I hear both sides. I hear the public comment to me that thinks people should be doing more of it and some saying that they would discourage us from doing such a thing.”

“Someone said ‘well this is not conclusive.’ Ok. None of the stuff on the COVID virus is conclusive right now,” Gossom said. “It’s all being learned. We’re going there as we go. But there’s no reason not to try to do something you have a choice about.”

The biggest thing holding Judge Gossom from making orders: he wants people to take personal responsibility for their health and the health of others.

County commissioners also met with several other local officials today to discuss COVID measures, but no changes were made.


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