Republic city administrator says a masking ordinance is still off the table

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 3:56 PM CST
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REPUBLIC, Mo. (KY3) - Republic still stands as one of the cities in Greene County without some type of masking ordinance or restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Un Wednesday news briefing, Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said he strongly encourages masking ordinances, but the Republic city administrator said the ability to enforce masking is what is preventing the city from doing it.

“We’re not in a position to police that. Even if there was a mandate from a national level, a state level, the resources to mandate it or enforce that are not in place,” said city administrator David Cameron. ”I mean we’re nine police officers short, so how would you take the calls or even address it?”

Cameron said the responsibility now falls onto citizens.

”We just believe the community is in a better place to police themselves than the government is,” Cameron said.

Terri O’Reilly is the director of The Community Kitchen in Republic. She is just recovering from COVID-19.

”But I’m still worried,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t want to get it again, and I’m not going to hang my hat on that 90 day immunity.”

Cameron said many businesses are complying with the city’s recommendations without the need of an enforcement. O’Reilly says her charity is one of them.

”All our volunteers going through wear masks, and I’ve been really encouraging people picking up the meals to wear masks,” she said.

But, O’Reilly said people at many places still do not comply. She said people often travel to Republic to avoid wearing a mask.

”At Walmart it’s about fifty, fifty,” O’Reilly said. “The Aldi, I love to shop at Aldi, yeah there’s a lot of non-compliance even though Aldi’s policy is to mask, but they can’t enforce it without city or state government behind them.“

The city has not halted events or gatherings, like parades, but Cameron said it still comes down to people taking personal responsibility to protect their community.

”We as an organization, we still conducted our Mud Runs, we conducted our ‘Have-A-Blast’ celebration on Labor Day weekend with the parades that are still there,” Cameron said. “But, we still encourage people to socially distance and if you can’t, to wear a mask. If you don’t feel comfortable attending and you can’t wear a mask and socially distance then we encourage you not to attend. "

O’Reilly said she believes more people would comply with masking if there was an ordinance behind it, regardless of enforcement.

“There’s still going to be people that are going to scoff and not do it, but I think there would be a little bit more teeth behind it if they came out and said it’s mandated you need to do it,” O’Reilly said.

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure is also urging surrounding areas to take measures now, as hospitals are filling up and case numbers are continuing to skyrocket throughout the county.

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