Mask mandate not a muffled matter during county commission meeting

Winston County Probate Judge Sheila Moore and Winston County Commission Chairman Roger Hayes discuss the mask ordinance after the commission meeting.

DOUBLE SPRINGS -  Very few people actually enjoy wearing a facial covering to keep down the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and some defy any mandates, but those choices are trivial when it comes to the current state mandate requiring facial coverings be worn.
Some claim they have more difficulty breathing while something covers their noses and mouths, while others say the facial coverings are simply too hot to be worn during hot and humid summer weather.
The issue of whether or not to wear a mask at a county office was the topic of heated remarks by Winston County Commission Chairman Roger Hayes, when Probate Judge Sheila Moore expressed some concerns at the July 27, commission meeting.
Moore said she had been hearing complaints from those going into the Winston County Courthouse about employees not wearing facial coverings. The probate judge’s office is located across Highway 195 in the annex building.
People have been asking why masks are required. Moore turned their attention to a sign posted on the door of county buildings, specifying masks must be worn in order to enter county buildings.

“They say there is not any employee in this building (the courthouse) that is wearing a mask,” Moore stated. “Nobody in this judicial building is wearing a mask.
“I want to know why we’re the only ones, in my office, that are required to wear a mask?” Moore asked Hayes.
“Let me tell you this,” responded Hayes. “You need to run y’all’s office over there and  we’ll run this over here.
“I wear a mask. As long as there’s six-foot distance, you don’t have to have a mask on,” Hayes added.
“You have to have a mask when you come long as you stay a six foot distance, then you can do that.
“Within my office, those girls are six-foot and they stop them at the door, so that answers that part,” Hayes exclaimed. “I can’t answer for this over here. All I said was I am not going to have an enforcer there. That’s just it, Sheila.
“We are not going to sit here and argue this and make a fuss out of this in front of the media, Sheila,” Hayes exclaimed. “You have made your point.”
After the meeting, Moore expressed her viewpoint on public employees wearing masks.
“It’s a state mandate by the governor that came into effect a week ago,” Moore said. “If you are out in public and (the governor) is requiring everyone to wear a mask, I feel like everybody needs to try to comply with that as much as possible.”
Any customers entering the probate office to conduct business are being encouraged to comply with the state mandate. Signs are posted on the door to her office, stating that masks are required for entry into county buildings.
Also, the office is stressing six-foot distancing between customers, and only three customers are allowed inside the office at one time to conduct business, Moore said.
Probate office employees are now conducting business from behind a counter. The front station,  where customers were checking in,  has been removed, Moore stated.
“We need to follow those rules,” she said. “If we are requiring them to wear a mask, then we need to be wearing a mask too, to show that we are in compliance as well.”
Wearing masks is uncomfortable, Moore admitted.
“I don’t like wearing them, but I wear them when I go out somewhere. I wear them all day long,” she said.
Referring to the comments of county workers not having to wear a mask when they are in their office practicing social distancing, Moore responded she wears a mask all during the work day when she’s at her desk because she never knows when a customer will come in.
“We all need to be respectful and mindful of other people, that when we’re out and about, in the halls especially, as a county employee, we need to be showing respect.  We’re making an example for other people,” Moore continued.



See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
Subscribe now!