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Fargo City Commissioners do not adopt mask mandate

Fargo City Commissioners discuss mask recommendation.
Fargo City Commissioners discuss mask recommendation.(KVLY)
Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 12:07 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2020 at 12:12 AM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - With a final vote of 3 to 2, the Fargo City Commissioners did not adopt either mask mandate proposal on Monday nights meeting.

One proposal came with a civil penalty, the other without.

Mayor Tim Mahoney presented the two proposals tonight and reminded everyone the City of Fargo has a directive, but not a mandate that has been in effect until August, and will remain in effect until November 9, 2020.

He says a directive is, “strong, good, advice.”

Commissioner Arlette Preston urged the other city commissioners to adopt a mandate, pointing out the rising number of deaths across the state, as well as the fact the commissioners are not practicing social distancing while at their meetings.

She pointed out the city commissioners and others in attendance were not spaced correctly and not everyone was wearing masks.

Preston pointed out that some members of the community who would like to attend the meetings don’t feel safe because of the lack of safety precautions.

Deputy Mayor Dave Piepkorn, who was not wearing a mask responded to Preston saying “At the beginning of this meeting remember, it started with facts not fear, and the facts are I’m just as protected as you are, wearing that mask of COVID-19. COVID-19 passes right through that mask. Isn’t that correct?"

He continued to say to mandate something that doesn’t work did not make sense.

Commissioner Tony Gehrig gave his thoughts and wanted everyone to consider the enforcement.

He said, “Let’s just assume for a second we have a mask mandate, a law requiring people to wear masks in public. If there is no penalty then we’ve done nothing. We’re virtually signaling to those who should have masks. It should be thrown out the window, it’s pretty much what we have now."

He continued, “If we have penalties, we have created new, a bunch of, very real unintended consequences, we will greatly increase the number of police contacts with civilians, resulting in more action against civilians."

At the end of the discussion, a mandate was not approved. Commissioners John Strand and Preston voted in favor of the mandate, with Commissioners Gehrig, Piepkorn, and Mayor Mahoney against the mandate.

A commissioner can bring up the mandate for consideration at a future meeting.

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