Letter to Editor on recent print newspaper article
There was an article in the Daily Press that people should read and react to: - Silver City will shift to state election law (11/24/21 Daily Press)
Buried at the end of the article was a new city threat to maskless “scofflaws.”. I’ve provided a link to a comprehensive study that questions the effectiveness of masks. The N95 type mask is a good one, but the Gods at CDC have decreed it be saved for healthcare workers. Even those masks are not perfect, but certainly better than the near-useless cloth masks, as per this study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25903751/ Unless the city is passing out the type of masks used by healthcare workers, such as the N95, they are just wasting everybody’s time.
Peter Burrows, Silver City
From the article:
While new reported COVID-19 infections appear to be slowing slightly in Silver City over the past week, according to the New Mexico Department of Health, the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus prompted Aiman-Smith to ask Brown about enforcement of the town’s mask mandate.
“We’re asking that everyone follow the requirements of the state mandates, and officers are starting to hand out masks again, asking people to follow the mask mandate,” Brown said, adding that businesses should call 575-388-8840, the Police Department’s non-emergency number, to report mask scofflaws. “We will respond to any business that requests that we remove individuals who are not following the mandate.”
Community Resource and Codes Officer Manny Jaure attended Tuesday’s meeting and spelled out the possible repercussions that could result from refusing to wear a mask in an indoor public space.
“What the business owner could do, at that point, if they’re not respecting their rules, their regulations, is they could issue them a criminal trespass [warning], and they would no longer be allowed back in that business,” Jaure said. “So at that point, we would issue that to the individual — and if they came back in, they would be arrested for a criminal offense.”
The town’s mask mandate is tied to state public health orders, and was automatically dropped in May when they were loosened — but it has been back in effect since August, when the state brought back the requirement that people, vaccinated or not, mask up indoors. The fine for a first violation, defined as being within three months of a written warning, is $50, with each subsequent violation subject to a $100 fine. Silver City police said earlier this year they would keep records of written warnings, and all fines issued are to be enforced in the town’s rarely used Municipal Court.
While some businesses have strict posted policies regarding mask-wearing, others are explicit about not respecting the public health order.
“There are going to be businesses — like one example is the Jalisco’s — does that affect them?” Councilor Ray asked Brown in reference to the Jalisco Cafe, which has posted several signs stating that its patrons are not required to wear masks.
“Those businesses are still required to follow the mask mandate, and they will have to deal with the Environment Department,” Brown said.
[Editor's Note: For another report on masks, please visit https://www.grantcountybeat.com/columns/informational/energy-issues/68674-mask-mandates-good-or-bad]