On Tuesday, the Indian River County Commission voted 4-1 to extend its face mask ordinance for at least six more months.
Opponents, mostly the same people who show up at the Sebastian City Council meetings, claim the pandemic is over because of the low number of deaths and the fact that there’s a 99% survival rate. They also said the masks restrict airways and are dangerous because people breathe in harmful bacteria. Opponents also mentioned that the ordinance is bad for the economy.
However, Commissioner Peter O’Bryan said the economy is mostly hurting because people are too scared to go out until they get vaccinated or when COVID-19 disappears.
O’Bryan also said that people who don’t wear masks or practice the CDC guidelines could infect others and violate their rights.
Commissioner Joe Flescher voted against the ordinance because it’s not enforceable.
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“I can’t support something that has no consequences for not wearing a mask. This isn’t a true mandate,” Flescher said.
However, Flescher also said there are “opinions” and “science” to support both sides of the mask debate. Flescher said he is in favor of face masks.
Supporters for the mask mandate say their health is at risk if the public doesn’t follow the guidelines. They also say most people are not washing or replacing their face masks regularly, which can cause illness.
Most federal and county buildings require a face mask and sometimes a temperature check before entering.
The Sebastian City Council voted unanimously to remove its face mask ordinance last November, leaving it up to local businesses to decide if they will enforce face masks or not. However, face masks and temperature checks are required before entering City Hall in Sebastian.