Newberry Mayor questions Alachua County’s face mask changes

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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) - Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe said the constant changes in face mask requirements are causing stress and confusion in his city. He said that this is a very challenging situation.

“The county made a decision and then without consulting any other municipalities other than Gainesville reversed that decision. It is difficult on the one hand to be asked to work with an entity and, on the other hand, be disregarded so frequently,” said Mayor Marlowe.

He said he wishes county commissioners would have talked with Newberry officials and other cities before making the changes.

“They listen to the city of Gainesville and even with numerous callers calling in and suggesting to them that they meet with the other municipalities before they make this decision,” said Mayor Marlowe. “They disregard those suggestions, and they went ahead and made this decision.”

At Tuesday's county commission meeting, the board decided to remove the face mask requirement. Then at the joint meeting with the city of Gainesville later in the day, the county decided to reinstate the requirement.

Mayor Marlowe said that the change in decision raised questions for him.

“It’s baffling to me when they reversed their decision,” said the Mayor. “I just had to take some time to try and digest that information and try to figure out who is really in charge in this county.”

Mayor Marlowe said in a Facebook post to his constituents on Tuesday evening that he will try and find some stability for his community in Newberry.

He said even if Alachua County decided not to reimplement the requirement, each city in the county had the option and still has the opportunity to implement a face mask requirement if they want too.

“Every city could enact a more strict regulation if they chose. So, there was no reason for the city of Gainesville to spend three hours trying to convince the county commission to enact an ordinance that would apply countywide. They could have just done it themselves,” said Mayor Marlowe.

He said his goal is simple; he wants to give the Newberry City Commission the opportunity to make decisions for their community.

“We are not trying to step into other municipalities. We are trying to ask other municipalities to let us govern our residents because we were elected to do that,” said Mayor Marlowe.

The Newberry City Commission will have an emergency meeting Wednesday at 8:00 PM.