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Kerr County Residents Fight Requirements To Wear Face Masks During COVID-19 Pandemic

A mask at Freeman Coliseum's alternate care facility.
Kathleen Creedon | Texas Public Radio
A mask at Freeman Coliseum's alternate care facility.

Kerr County residents recently criticized new orders in some cities and counties where businesses must require customers and staff to wear masks.

“Guys, this is America. We have a thing called personal responsibility. And that's going by the wayside with our nanny state. Everybody thinks that the government needs to take care of them. I don't,” one person said Monday during Commissioner's Court public comments.

Public health officials at the national, state and local levels have called for people to wear masks when social distancing is not possible. But multiple Kerr County residents find that unconstitutional.

One resident said it was "just American common sense" to uphold one’s right not to wear a mask.

“Kerrville and Kerr County and the Hill Country in general was founded on conservative principles, and that being that person looked after themselves and their family and their neighbors,” they said.

Another resident said requiring masks was an abuse of power.

“And what is it? When does it start? Are you going to tell me I need a vaccination next? Are you going to take my guns next because it's ‘Kerr County said so?’ Where did it stop?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2EcZ2aWabA

County Judge Rob Kelly came up with a compromise.

“My motion is, let's say that that is the best practice and a recommendation of this court, if that's what you believe,” Kelly said, following with a motion. “For this court to make recommendations to the public to wear masks, if you believe that is in your best interest.”

The court voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Health officials say face masks are proven to lower the chances of spreading COVID-19 without adverse health effects.

Though Kerr County has only had 72 positive cases of COVID-19 and one related death, the number of positive cases in Texas has grown steadily since the state began to reopen on May 1.

Dominic Anthony Walsh can be reached at Dominic@TPR.org and on Twitter at @_DominicAnthony.

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