Mobile City Council to consider mask ordinance at Wednesday special meeting


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — UPDATE (1:20 p.m.) — The Mobile City Council will hold a special meeting  Wednesday, July 1 to discuss the ordinance requiring citizens to wear facial coverings. 

“We are at a breaking point. The health and safety of our citizens and our economy are at stake and we must act now. Between the spiking infection numbers and the upcoming holiday weekend, we cannot wait another week before taking this action.”  

Council President Levon Manzie

The meeting will take place in the Auditorium on the first floor of Government Plaza. 

ORIGINAL STORY- An ordinance that would require wearing face masks in public during the COVID-19 pandemic is on the Mobile City Council’s Tuesday agenda.

The ordinance is sponsored by Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Mobile City Council President Levon Manzie, Mobile City Council member Joel Daves, and Mobile Council member Bess Rich. The council could vote on the ordinance Tuesday.

Mayor Stimpson urged council members on Friday to swiftly approve the ordinance, saying time is of the essence. But, in a daily letter, and on Twitter Monday night, the mayor’s tone seemed to change, calling the ordinance ‘an idea worthy of debate.’

On Friday, Council President Manzie announced the ordinance would be on the agenda. He cited the virus remains a threat to the community, and that this is an action proven to be effective at slowing and stopping the spread of the virus.

The Mayor tweeted on Monday night, the city has received a ‘tremendous amount’ of feedback about the ordinance. He added that he also has concerns about the ability to enforce the ordinance.

Cases of COVID-19 have been on the rise in Alabama. Last week, Mobile County recorded a total count of 3,418 laboratory-confirmed COVID positive patients, which is an increase of 404 patients from the week before.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has projected a decrease in infections if there was universal masking.

Full daily letter from Mayor Sandy Stimpson:

Good evening,
It is 9 p.m. on Monday, June 29 and I am writing to give you an update on the City of Mobile’s efforts regarding COVID-19.
Today, the Mobile County Health Department releases an “expanded report” of data for the week ending June 27. Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Mobile County recorded a total count of 3,418 laboratory confirmed COVID positive patients, an increase of 404 patients from the prior week total   of 3014, a growth rate of 13.4%.
  • Mobile County recorded a total count of 289 hospitalized patients, an increase of 15 from the prior week total of 273, a growth rate of 5.5%.
  • Mobile County recorded a total count of 136 deceased, an increase of 3 from the prior week total of 133, a growth rate of 2.2%.
  • Mobile County recorded a total count of 44,472 laboratory tests, an increase of 3275 tests from the prior week total of 41,197, a growth of 7.9% and representative of 7.36% of the total reported tests to date. The overall laboratory confirmed positive rate is now 7.6%, 3418 confirmed to 44,472 reported tests, an increase of 0.3% from the prior rate of 7.3%.

From Monday to Friday of last week, area hospitals averaged 63 COVID positive patients per day. That was an increase of 8 from the prior week average of 55, a growth rate of 14.55%.
Area hospitals averaged a total of 16 COVID ICU Patients, a decrease of 2 patients from the prior week average of 18, a decline rate of 11.11%. Area hospitals’ total ICU bed availability averaged 15.20%.
We continue to receive a tremendous amount of feedback regarding a proposed ordinance to require face coverings in the City of Mobile. I agreed to co-sponsor this item at the urging of our health care experts and members of the council. With COVID cases continuing to rise, I believe it is an idea worthy of debate.
The ordinance is scheduled to be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting of the Mobile City Council.I’ve asked representatives from our local hospitals to attend along with leaders from the Mobile County Health Department, so that we may hear their comments. 
There are strong feelings both for and against this proposal. I am listening to all sides and continuing to ask questions. While I understand the perspective of our health experts, I do have some concerns about our ability to enforce this ordinance. I look forward to discussing that with the council tomorrow.
We can all agree that we want our community to be safe, our economy to prosper and our children to have a bright future. 
COVID is a challenge unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. The decisions we must make are difficult but necessary to keep you safe. We will do our best to listen to you and make the best decisions possible to help our community navigate through this crisis. 
I am grateful for the dedicated team we have working at City Hall and I am grateful to be working for you during this challenging time.

       Mayor Sandy Stimpson


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