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Town Council passes mask requirement resolution

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Jackson Town Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of a public health order requiring masks in public spaces.

The resolution itself is more symbolic than ordained. It has no legal standing. Instead, it is a statement that councilors unanimously support a public health order from Teton District Health Officer Travis Riddell, which is likely on its way to State Health Officer Alexia Harrist for approval.

“This is a resolution that will support direction given by the public health officer,” Mayor Pete Muldoon said at the special council meeting Monday morning.

At a community update Friday afternoon, Riddell said he has tried to enact public health policy by the least restrictive means possible. Riddell and town councilors agreed that a mask recommendation would be the most effective way to ensure compliance. But as town sees more visitors, it has also seen more refusal to wear masks in businesses, forcing businesses owners to make their own requirements and suffer abuse for trying to enforce them.

“The reason I think this is important to go from recommendation to requirement is to give those people on the front lines—meaning restaurants, stores—[an option for ill treatment], an arrow in their quiver,” said Councilor Jonathan Schechter. “[I hear about employee abuse] and that’s completely inexcusable. It makes me sad and angry that people would come into our community and abuse people of the town of Jackson. That’s abhorrent.”

Councilors unanimously rejected and denounced the notion that masks have become a political statement. Wearing a mask “small sacrifice” and a “sign of kindness,” Muldoon said, upon which “our lives and livelihoods depend.”

“This isn’t very hard to do. We’re not asking very much,” said councilor Jim Stanford. “I’m reminded of the kinds of sacrifices citizens have had to make in extraordinary times. During World War Two did people reject the rationing that was going on? Did they say, ‘It’s against my civil liberties. I’m entitled to a whole side of beef’ or whatever was required for the greater good”  We are not asking for much of a sacrifice here. It’s a simply gesture for the benefit of your fellow human being. We’re just asking people to wear a mask in the midst of a global health pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousands of people. The notion that this is somehow infringing on your liberty is nonsense.”

The resolution passed unanimously and will bolster support for a public health order requiring masks from Dr. Riddell.

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