City passes Mask Mandate

COVID-19 graphic courtesy of Tanana Chiefs Conference

by Greg Lincoln

On August 31, 2020 the City Council passed Emergency Ordinance 20-27 which enacted a mask mandate. The mandate states that masks or similar face-coverings be worn in public in indoor and indoor-adjacent spaces, and under certain conditions in outdoor spaces, during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“The COVID-19 outbreak remains ongoing…the potential extent and effect of the disease cannot yet be known, and it remains vital for the City of Bethel to be prepared and take all necessary precautions until the outbreak no longer poses a threat,” says EO 20-27. “A growing body of research shows that people with no or few symptoms of COVID-19 can still spread the disease, and that the use of face coverings, combined with physical distancing and frequent hand-washing, will dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Bethel has been fortunate to avoid large numbers of COVID-19 cases in the city and region at this time, continues the ordinance, because of the community’s quick and voluntary actions to wear face coverings in public, limit interactions, stay at home when sick, and washing hands frequently.

COVID-19 researchers and data has shown that people who are infected but are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic play a big role in community spread as they can transmit the virus to others unknowingly before symptoms appear. The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity to each other by actions such as speaking, coughing, singing, laughing and sneezing.

“It is imperative that the City take its role in protecting this community and region seriously, and every resident, visitor, business, organization and agency in this community has a responsibility to do their part in protecting each other from this serious disease,” says EO 20-27. “If we don’t all participate in these mitigation and prevention measures, then the benefits will not be realized.”

Let us all do our part, thank you all.