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Decatur mayor not considering mask mandate

Mayor Tab Bowling told WAAY 31 it would be difficult to enforce a mask mandate, especially in shopping centers, where people are constantly moving.

Posted: Jun 23, 2020 7:17 PM
Updated: Jun 23, 2020 9:06 PM

In Morgan County, there are 320 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past two weeks. Sick employees are also forcing some businesses to temporarily close, but the mayor in Decatur says there are no plans for a policy dictating mandatory masking.

Mayor Tab Bowling told WAAY 31 it would be difficult to enforce a mask mandate, especially in shopping centers, where people are constantly moving.

"Trying to mandate that our residents wear masks, when it's not mandated by the state, it'll have 50% of our residents who want to do that and 50% that won't," said Bowling.

Bowling said mandatory masking might cause as many problems as it solves.

"Those calls will end up putting a tremendous burden on our already stressed police force," said Bowling.

He says there's also an issue with how quickly an officer can respond to an area where people are not wearing masks.

"As they are prioritizing these calls, they get there, and where is that person? Where is that individual? Who's the person who made the call? It can create a level of frustration," said Bowling.

Bowling says he recommends masks, and it’s an idea businesses could enforce.

"Businesses could just simply say we don't want you coming in our business unless you have a face mask on,'" said Bowling.

"We just highly recommend, if you're going to be around a group, to wear one," said Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long.

Long says while he doesn't have the authority to create a mask mandate, he wants people to take precautions.

"We have to encourage our citizens to be responsible themselves, and not only take care of themselves, but take care of the people around them," said Long.

Bowling said he will re-evaluate the need for a mask mandate if numbers continue to rise.

We’ve also repeatedly asked Huntsville and the state about masking policies. Mayor Tommy Battle also told us it would be difficult to enforce.

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