Ocala residents express thoughts in favor and against mask mandate

The mandate was originally vetoed by the mayor but the city council voted Wednesday to overrule...
The mandate was originally vetoed by the mayor but the city council voted Wednesday to overrule the veto.(WCJB)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 9:57 PM EDT
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The masks mandate is back on in Ocala after the city council voted to overturn the mayor's veto.

We'll show you what those who called into the council meeting had to say about the mandate before it was passed.

TV20's Landon Harrar reported, "the mandate requires businesses within city limits to tell all customers to wear a mask while inside by clearly visible front door signage, announcing it over public address systems if possible and making a reasonable effort to tell customers not wearing a mask it is required."

Callers from both sides of the issue each waited their turn to give their thoughts on the mask mandate including business owners like Nina Schweer who will be directly affected. "If someone is going into my business they are accepting the risks of being around other people getting out of the car breathing the fresh air. I don't think we should be able to take that away from them. It's their right to choose, it's my right to choose, it's my employees right."

And essential medical workers like Cynthia Dela Rosa also weighed in. "Marion County and this is current data, is showing one of the fastest increases in positive COVID-19 cases and we need to take action. Gentlemen, I beg you to override this veto. A mask mandate is not a matter of pride, but a matter of safety."

Still, some like Kelly Sherman who is in favor of the mandate pointed out while this mask mandate should encourage more people to wear a mask inside businesses it doesn't necessarily mean they have to. "There will be people who will say no I'm not going to wear it and that's in the ordinance in and of itself. If an individual person in a business is asked to wear a mask they have every right to say no I'm not going to wear it."

Those against the mask mandate like Scott Monroe continually hit on the fact it should be a choice and to require masks is infringing on their civil liberties. "I'm not wearing a mask, and I tell you now if you pass the ordinance I'm not wearing a mask. Because I have a liberty interest to pursue my happiness as I see fit."

After public comment, the mandate was passed with a 4-1 vote with Council President Jay Musleh in dissent.

The mask ordinance is effective immediately and will be active for 60 days. We reached out to Mayor Kent Guinn for comment with no reply. The city council will meet again next Tuesday to further address the issue and change any wording if needed.

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