The Liberty County Commission will take up a masking ordinance at its meeting this week; the legislation is aimed at protecting the public health from the CORONA-19 virus pandemic.
Commission Chairman Donald Lovette has said, (of the pandemic) “I am scared. If it takes being harsh I am ready to be harsh.” County Attorney Kelly Davis is expected to bring two versions of a masking ordinance to the commission meeting Thursday to allow commissioners to decide what provisions they want to enact.
A strict version, envisioned by Lovette, will face some different views from commissioners. (Lovette is a health care professional, lab director at Liberty Regional Medical Center.)
Commissioner Connie Thrift, a local business owner, said at the regular July 7 meeting, “I do not support it (mandatory masking.)” She said the virus numbers may go down, and that measures like wearing masks should be up to individuals.
Thrift pointed out that Gov. Brian Kemp’s emergency order does not require wearing of masks and asked who would be policing a county mask ordinance if passed. Thrift is the commission’s liaison for health matters. Commissioner Marion Stevens said he concurs with the governor: encouraging masking but not requiring it. Stevens said if local enforcement would involve magistrate court, “Magistrate’s court in Liberty County is a joke.”
Commissioner Justin Frasier, participating by telephone, said, “We should encourage (masking) and lead by example. That should be enough.”
Commissioner Gary Gilliard said his position was, “all masks, all the time.”
County Administrator Joey Brown told the commissioners that the county requires masks at the door of all county buildings, similar to a policy adopted by the city of Hinesville.
The commissioners plan to discuss fall recreation programs; almost all LCRD activities were closed in response to the pandemic and have begun reopening. Limiting exposure will be crucial for restarting group activities.
Stevens said, “I would like to know what is the Liberty County Board of Education’s plan for wearing masks.”
Thursday’s meeting agenda is a busy one, including a discussion of a pavilion adjoining the Briar Bay Park in Riceboro. Questions have arisen about the ownership, use and safety of the site.
The commissioners will discuss an animal control board; Liberty County apparently violates state regulations by not having one.
Routine reports on engineering and finance are scheduled along with a proclamation honoring the Geechee Gullah Nation.