Here is what I believe Olmsted County should be doing in terms of COVID19 Masking Policy. I say Olmsted County because they are the level of government responsible for public health.
That said there has been very little policy guidance coming from them and this will force the city to act despite not having a public health department. Voluntary compliance is not working with too many people and businesses. The goal of this policy is reduce transmission, prevent serious illness and death, and to prevent businesses from having to shutter again.
- Require masking inside (and outside where social distancing is not possible) at all businesses.
- Limit situations where masks may not be worn, there are plenty of reasonable examples.
- Under the Mayor’s emergency powers; issue a required “pandemic operating license” to all businesses in Rochester. This license is automatically granted and free of charge.
- Work with businesses to help them understand and come into compliance with the policy.
- Revoke the license of businesses still not in compliance.
- Update policy as we learn more.
- Policy expires after a period of 2 weeks with no local transmission of cases, end of the peacetime emergency, or a vaccine is available. Update: It sounds like I can pick up 1 vote by requiring this be renewed after 60 days. I can make that compromise.
Note that this policy will rely on businesses not the police enforcing the policy. This is important because what I specifically do NOT want to do is create new criminalization and require Police interactions. The exact details is a staff / community level exercise.
“Rochester Ready” is dangerous in its current form. It says that businesses are not required to have customers wear masks, and we will still give them a certification that says the business is safe. Currently the City, Mayo Clinic, Experience Rochester and the Rochester Area Chamber are OK with this. The provides an official designation saying a space is safe while it clearly is not. I am not and will ask the City to lead by example and remove support for this plan until it is better. In the creation of “Rochester Ready” I was never consulted until after it came out.
Don’t give me the “science isn’t there lecture.” In general the scientific community is there. I am posting this so our medical community can show me the data where I am wrong, I can fix that, and they can hopefully amplify the message. Nice summary. Short of that I will just say, look at Japan…
Yes, for a variety of mental or physical reasons some people can’t wear masks. In normal times we make reasonable accommodations. These are emergency times and these individuals should not be going into businesses without a mask because COVID19 doesn’t care about their situation. The reality is most of the problem is adults throwing temper tantrums and its OK to not let people into businesses for that reason.
So if you’re going to be mad at me, fine. But you should really be mad at the people who are shying away from action amidst a crisis.
I am not a dictator. I can’t just do this. I believe that only the Mayor can make this emergency declaration and only then can the City Council take it up. I am also not an attorney so I will have to check with our legal team if this strategy can work. I believe it can under an emergency declaration.