mask requirement

Mayor Joe Shumway discusses a potential mask requirement at the July 7 council meeting.

The Laramie City Council on Tuesday declined to throw its support behind an order through Albany County and the state to require face masks in public places.

The council chose not to pass a resolution supporting such a mandate during a special meeting that followed a joint work session with the Albany County Commission on infrastructure projects. It’s not clear whether or when county or state officials would implement such an order or how it will be enforced, but Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent said those discussions have been taking place.

Authority for granting a variance to statewide health orders to county governments that would allow for a local face mask order ultimately lies with state health officer Alexia Harrist, who works with the Attorney General’s office when the state receives a request from a county health officer. Albany County health officer Jean Allais will make the determination whether to request Harrist grant a variance to statewide health orders that would allow for the implementation of a local facemask requirement. The council’s resolution simply would have requested Allais work with the state to implement the order.

The council voted 5-4, with Vice Mayor Pat Gabriel, Councilman Charles McKinney, Mayor Joe Shumway, Councilman Bryan Shuster and Councilwoman Jessica Stalder voting against the resolution.

Dozens gathered outside of City Hall before Tuesday’s meeting, waving American flags while showing their opposition to a facemask mandate.

Albany County resident and former gubernatorial candidate Taylor Haynes was among those at City Hall who gathered before the meeting. He said such an order would be unconstitutional.

“We are here to let elected officials know we intend to be free, we are responsible and we are Americans,” Haynes said. “We want to exercise our First Amendment right to freely gather, we thank them for their service, and we ask them to defend and uphold the Constitution, that’s their job. Their job is not to protect me from the virus.”

Several public comments were made by people who echoed Haynes’s sentiments, and questioned whether council members should be passing a resolution supporting a mandate when details on enforcement and exceptions were not yet clear.

Others in the public spoke in favor of a facemask requirement, saying it was the duty of the council to show its support for the measure to protect public health.

Riley Talamantes, president of the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming, said the return of college students in coming weeks should be reason enough to implement a requirement. UW already has a facemask requirement in place for all on university property.

“If the message is not consistent in all parts of Laramie, I think this will be an issue,” Talamantes said.

(7) comments

Brett Glass

Let’s hope that Council’s cowardly refusal to support even CONSIDERATION of a vital public health measure does not prevent it from being put in place. Failure to wear a mask is like shooting a gun into the air. I have the right to keep and bear arms but not to shoot off bullets in a way that recklessly endangers people. The same is true of biological bullets!

TheReplacement

You'll get over it bg. If this issue was so important then why did your side leave it to a student to present 3rd grade logic (if I have to wear one, everybody should) as your thesis? Where were the medical and scientific studies that masks work? That's right, there aren't any.

Brett Glass

"Your side?" There was no organized support of the resolution and none should have been needed. I am an advocate of limited government; I believe it should stick to its knitting and not attempt to exceed the scope of its necessary duties. However, public health and sanitation absolutely DO fall within that scope, and the City should have passed the resolution to indicate its support of this vital public health measure. (Note: I was on the Zoom call and even raised my hand to comment, but had to sign off before I was recognized to support a customer who needed my help to resolve a problem with his Internet devices. I could already see that a majority of the Council had made up their minds and would not vote in favor, so my comments to this effect would not have changed the outcome.)

TheReplacement

"There was no organized support of the resolution and none should have been needed. "

When you have science, facts and common sense against you, you better have some organized support.

"However, public health and sanitation absolutely DO fall within that scope,"

This is not ever remotely about public health and sanitation. If it were, then you would have the AMA, CDC and the WHO are your side but you don't.

"my comments to this effect would not have changed the outcome"

I agree there. You not have indicated that you have don't have any grasp of the issues.

Brett Glass

P.S. - One of the specious arguments raised by antimaskers (who are no more credible than antivaxxers) is that there is no research supporting the use of masks. That's false; hundreds of studies have been performed. See the summary at https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/06/21/880832213/yes-wearing-masks-helps-heres-why

TheReplacement

The AMA, CDC, and WHO all indicate masks are worthless. You're just too lazy to read the research. Instead you rely on a propaganda outlet. I had a very good day yesterday bg. I was able to publicly humiliate two members of the mask cult. Usually I'm only one per day.

Brett Glass

The antimaskers’ false claims here are dangerous to them and others. Let’s hope that science and good sense prevail!

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