The mask mandate in Marysville will remain in effect until April 1.
With the city’s original mandate set to expire Jan. 17, City Council discussed the issue Monday before voting 7-1 to extend the order, aimed at helping curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Council member Keith Beikman voted no. Voting to extend it were council members Diane Schroller, Colleen Behrens, Todd Frye, Kevin Throm, Parker Price, Bobbi Pippia and Terry Hughes.
“If we lift the mask mandate, it sends a signal that it is over and things can go back to normal,” Mayor Jason Barnes said. “We are getting there, but we aren’t there yet.”
Before the meeting, Barnes sought the advice of Dr. John Ryan, Marshall County public health officer. Barnes said Ryan recommended extending the mask mandate because he does not expect the threat of the pandemic to end until July at the soonest.
Beikman asked whether the pandemic is more about controlling people than keeping them healthy.
Barnes said a lot of people oppose the mask mandate.
“After we passed the mask mandate, I had people that were furious at me,” he said.
But many people are grateful the city has taken steps to protect public health. Behrens said she thinks COVID-19 cases will increase if the mask mandate is lifted now.
Pippia said the council needs to keep an eye on the issue and suggested extending the mandate until after Easter.
Throm said the council will revisit the matter in late March.
City Administrator Austin St. John said the mandate allows local police to issue tickets.
As an example, he said, “If Walmart has an unruly customer, our officers can issue a ticket.”
Under the mandate, individuals can be fined $20 and businesses can be fined $50 for non-compliance.