Mask mandates are a hot topic. Public opinion and public policy differ greatly. In some cities, masks are mandated by government, business, and schools; other areas don’t require them anywhere.
Will the city of Maricopa institute such a mandate? InMaricopa asked the city’s policymakers, “Do you think there is an appetite for a mask mandate in Maricopa?”
Councilmember Amber Liermann: “I do not support a mask mandate. I believe individuals should be given a choice. I believe parents should have a choice to put a mask on their child or not. I fully support individuals who choose to wear a mask, and I fully support individuals who don’t. I support parents who put a mask on their child, and I support parents who don’t. I believe we live in a country where rights and freedoms are protected, and no one should be judged for exercising those rights.”
Councilmember Vincent Manfredi: “I think it is best left to individuals to decide if they should or should not wear a mask.”
Councilmember Bob Marsh: “That’s hard. I think it should be a citywide mask recommendation, but the politics in this town are red enough I don’t think a mandate would go over well at all.
“I do think the schools should be masked and pushing hard for vaccines. If I were running the schools, I’d make the vaccine mandatory for in-person school, and if you didn’t want to get the vaccine, you’d have to do remote learning.
“I’m old enough where I grew up in era where they didn’t ask you if you wanted a vaccine, they told you that you were getting one. We got vaccinated for polio, smallpox, diphtheria, all together about 25 different things starting in the 1950s. I am very pro vaccine. I’m a scientist, I’m an engineer, I can understand what’s going on.
“I think people are being misled by some of these anti-vaxxers. In fact, it might even be a political conspiracy coming out of Russia to scare people away from doing what’s right to weaken our country. I’m sure we could be done with this pandemic in a heartbeat if everyone got vaccinated.
“I wear a mask whenever I’m out. Right now, I’m heading for a state conference, the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, for four days. Frankly, I’m going with some trepidation, because I know there will be a lot of unmasked and unvaccinated people there. With four days of this conference with lots of people not masking or vaccinated, this could be a super-spreader event.”
Mayor Christian Price: “At this time, it’s a moot point as the governor has preempted cities and towns from instituting a ‘mask mandate,’ thus we cannot legally have one.
“But freedom of choice continues its pervasiveness (in Maricopa) and thus, every resident who feels the desire to wear a mask voluntarily may do so at any time, and anywhere they wish. I truly respect that freedom of choice.”
Vice Mayor Nancy Smith: “I have heard nothing to that effect. I am at the ALCT conference right now and they have highly encouraged those of us here to wear a mask and yet I would say three-quarters of the people here are not wearing one. I’m not seeing it around town, in meetings, anywhere. I don’t think there’s a big appetite for a mandate here in town.
“My preference is personal preference. I don’t want the smallest freedom to be taken away from me. In my mind, that’s a small freedom we should keep in the hands of each one personally.”
Councilmember Rich Vitiello: “Nope. Don’t feel it’s necessary. If you want to wear a mask, go ahead; if you don’t, don’t. I feel like it’s just like a COVID shot – if you want one, get it. If you don’t want it, don’t get it.
“I’m not a dictator. I don’t think we should be telling people what to do. It’s simple; people have a better idea of what’s right for them and their lives than I do.”
Councilmember Henry Wade: “Every time I’m in attendance somewhere, like at the school board meeting last week, most people I see stand against it. I’m usually the person with the mask on. If you gauge it by the percentage of people at those meetings who are wearing a mask, there is definitely not a lot of support for such a mandate.
“I would prefer to see people be cautious about contact with others, be considerate about contact with others, and be as concerned about the health of my child as they are their own.”
Editor’s note: Councilmember Vincent Manfredi is co-owner of InMaricopa.