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County Council Votes Down Face Mask Mandate

| January 07, 2022, 03:04 PM

After more than four hours of public testimony, the Anne Arundel County Council failed to extend a mask mandate which expired at noon today.

The Council voted 4-3 on the Emergency Order by County Executive Pittman to extend the indoor mask mandate. The extension needed a super-majority (five) of votes to pass. The votes were along party lines with all three Republicans voting against the mandate.

In explaining their “nay” votes, the three Republicans used some wordplay. Councilman Volke said he was voting “no” because he did not believe that the Council Chair, Councilwoman Rodvien, used the proper term to end debate and call for a vote–despite the opinion of the Council’s Parliamentarian. Councilwoman Fielder voted “no” because she wanted to clarify some statements of the medical experts who testified earlier in the day. And Councilwoman Haire cast her “no” vote because she had outstanding questions.

In a joint statement from the three Republicans, Fiedler said,”Focusing on mask mandates instead of increased testing availability and other important resources that would immediately support our healthcare system, only prolongs the mental health impacts this pandemic has created in the past 2 years.”

Haire added, “We are no longer in the beginning stages of this pandemic, our overall vaccination rate is nearly 70%, and at this point we need to believe in the residents of our County to make the best health decisions for themselves.”

And Volke stated, “98.7% percent of Anne Arundel County residents over 65 years of age, the most vulnerable to the effects of Covid, have been fully or partially vaccinated.”

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The trio called for the County Executive to allot more money to testing in NOrthern and Southern Anne Arundel County.

Several of the Democrats on the Council, pleased with the community to voluntarily embrace mask-wearing to help quell the spread of COVID.

In a Facebook post, Council Chair, Lisa Rodvien said ” I am very sad for Anne Arundel County today. We have record COVID hospitalizations, pleas for help from the hospital, and we could not get a bipartisan vote supporting a mask mandate.”

Shortly after the face mask vote, the County Council also voted 4-3 in opposition to extending the Pittman’s emergency order which was a companion emergency bill.

Category: COVID, Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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