Masks are effective only if you wear them properly. Here's the right (and wrong) way

Wash your hands and grab a clean cloth mask. Only wear clean, breathable face masks. Re-wearing the same mask could expose you to contaminants. Put on your mask, holding it by the ear loops. Make sure your nose, mouth and chin are covered.

McDONOUGH — The Henry County Board of Commissioners has approved a joint resolution urging all Henry County businesses to require wearing face coverings of their employees and customers upon entering their premises and encouraging citizens to continue following recommendations in the Governor’s Executive Order regarding the pandemic.

The action came at the July 7 commission meeting after the board heard a detailed coronavirus update from Emergency Management Director Don Ash.

“I wanted you all to make note that from June 8 to July 7, we had a 90.35 percent increase of cases. On June 6, we roughly had about 767 cases and on July 7, we had 1,560 cases. That’s a total increase of 90 percent in a month span,” said Ash.

He further shared that the county is working on a mask initiative that includes distributing masks to Henry’s four cities and the public.

“We finally received a shipment of 40,000-plus masks, and we are working with the municipal governments to get those masks out to the general public. We are focusing on daycare centers, dialysis centers and our vulnerable population,” said Ash.

Following his update, District IV Commissioner Vivian Thomas voiced her concerns and posed the suggestion for Henry County businesses to require individuals to wear masks upon entry.

“It is alarming to see those numbers continue to go up around the nation and especially in Georgia. We can start a campaign and ask businesses to enforce a ‘no mask, no service’ initiative,” said Thomas. “We need to take another step forward and say, ‘no mask, no service.’”

County Attorney Patrick Jaugstetter said that because the governor has not imposed a mandate on wearing masks, the board lacks the authority to enforce a mandate as well.

“Those suggestions would be appropriate as mitigation measures. However, we still have the governor’s orders which limits our ability as a local government to enforce any order,” said Jaugstetter.

District II Commissioner Dee Clemmons echoed Thomas’ sentiments and told her fellow commissioners that she sent an email to businesses located in the county encouraging them to require wearing masks in their stores and thought it would be beneficial to citizens if the BOC did the same.

“As a board, I think it is our duty to make a formal collective statement and approve a resolution saying we as a board are encouraging every business that receives a business license from this county to require mask wearing in their store,” said Clemmons.

Thomas again stated that the campaign is an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and clarified that even though it can’t be mandated, encouraging Henry County businesses to require mask wearing is essential to the health of employees as well as customers.

“This is a campaign to support the fact that wearing masks in public spaces needs to happen. We understand that we cannot mandate this, but it will show leadership and efforts to try and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Thomas.

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