Mobile councilman poses for photo without mask despite city’s new ordinance

Mobile County

UPDATE (4:13 p.m.) — After seeing our story, Councilman Fred Richardson posted the following response on Facebook to explain why he wasn’t wearing a face covering in the photo.

There is a photo below of me and my family in front of the Slippers where we ate. I wore a shield at breakfast. Pulled it off a second for a stranger to take our photo. The shield was in my right hand. Notice, I gave only a left thumbs up. I faced no one within 12 feet. I put the face shield back on immediately after the photo. The media called me about the photo. Now I’m telling you. I do know some detractors will complain if I had on three masks. I support the ordinance fully. And, my next public photo, I will be wearing it. Stay safe citizens of Mobile.

Fred Richardson via Facebook

ORIGINAL STORY

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A city councilman is drawing criticism for posting a photo in which he’s not wearing a mask, even though Mobile now has an ordinance requiring one in most public scenarios.

Councilman Fred Richardson posted the photo Saturday on Facebook. In the photo, he and others are standing outside the Ruby Slipper restaurant downtown. According to the post, they were celebrating a family member’s birthday.

Eight people are shown in the photo. Richardson, giving a thumbs up in the picture, is one of three not wearing a face covering.

Mobile Councilman Fred Richardson (third person from the right) is seen without a mask the day after the city’s new ordinance took effect.
Photo: Fredrick D. Richardson/Facebook

The photo has dozens of comments from people questioning why a city leader would not lead by example.

“I guess it’s do as I say not as I do,” one person commented.

“Fred wants everyone to wear a mask but won’t wear one himself,” another person said.

“Where is the mandatory mask you voted for all of us to wear Mr. Richardson?” someone else asked.

Mobile’s new mask ordinance took effect Friday at 5 p.m. to help combat a surge in COVID-19 cases across the region. Richardson was among the council members who voted 6-1 in favor of the measure. John Williams was the only council member who voted against it.

One of the frequently asked questions the city addressed deals specifically with the scenario of whether or not you need to wear a mask when on a public sidewalk:

Are face coverings required while on sidewalks or in parks?
Yes, if social distancing cannot be achieved.

City of Mobile FAQ

Mobile’s ordinance calls for a $50 fine for a first offense if a person refuses to voluntarily comply.

Since posting the photo, Richardson has made several new posts but has not addressed the controversial photo.

WKRG News 5 has reached out to Richardson for comment.

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