BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The Brookings City Council decided Tuesday night to mandate masks in indoor businesses as well as indoor public places where six feet of social distancing isn’t possible.
“I’m as frustrated and exhausted with COVID-19 and mask-wearing as all of you,” Brookings City Council member Nick Wendell said. “I happen to think that mask-wearing is a pathway back to normalcy or any sense of normalcy that we may have in coming months or in the next year.”
“For me it comes down to simply the mandate versus voluntary compliance,” Brookings City Council member Leah Brink said. “And I just, after much reflection, prayer, conversation, I cannot vote to pass this as a mandate and legal requirement. I definitely sign on to it as guidelines and recommendation.”
Different people with varying perspectives weighed in on masks.
“I am not anti-mask. I actually make masks, and I sell them at cost for those people who want to wear masks and feel that that mask helps them,” Teresa Holloman of Aurora, S.D. said. “What I am against is a mandate, because I feel that it violates our civil rights.”
“If I’m in an area where others are not masking, that puts my husband at risk and my coworkers at risk,” said Mary Anne Krogh, dean of South Dakota State University’s College of Nursing. “I urge you to enact a public mask rule to protect our entire community.”
There are a number of exemptions to this mask mandate. These include for kids ages five or younger, people who have a medical or mental health condition which prevents them from wearing one, and people who are deaf or have trouble hearing.
The mask mandate is effective immediately.