Kemper County Supervisors lift mask mandate
After a short conversation with differences of opinions being shared, the Kemper County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to lift the mandate it instituted in January requiring masks to be worn on county property.
The subject was not scheduled to be addressed until the Feb. 22 meeting of the supervisors, but District 4 Supervisor Mike Luke asked that it be added to Monday’s agenda.
Luke and District 3 Supervisor Scott Johnson were both clearly in favor of the mandate being lifted, while District 5 Supervisor Chris Cole was initially opposed, citing public safety.
District 1 Supervisor Pat Granger and District 2 Supervisor Johnny Whitsett both said they thought it was best to wear masks but that it should be up to the individual.
“I know I’m going to keep wearing mine," Whitsett said.
“Me too,” Granger said.
It was acknowledged by county administrator Sherline Watkins that there had been a few verbal altercations because of the mask mandate.
Johnson said he had checked with Winston, Neshoba, and Newton counties and none of them had a mandate in place. He said it was unnecessary and was making things inconvenient for those who had business to take care of in the courthouse.
“It’s about public safety,” Cole said. “That’s what we do out there on the highway,” referring to traffic laws.
“When did we get into the healthcare business,” Johnson asked?
“We have a responsibility to keep people safe,” Cole responded.
When the motion was brought to a vote it wound up being unanimous to make the wearing of a mask on county property up to the individual.
The mandate was lifted immediately.
To read more about Monday’s meeting of the Kemper County Board of Supervisors, which had a full agenda, be sure to pick up a copy of next week’s Kemper County Messenger.