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Rock Island County stops short of mask mandate
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Rock Island County stops short of mask mandate


People in Rock Island County are being asked to wear face coverings as coronavirus numbers continue to climb

County board members on Tuesday passed a proclamation approving the recommendation that all residents and visitors to the county wear face coverings in public places. 

Board members Robert Westpfahl and Rod Simmer voted against the proclamation. 

The proclamation reads in part, "In an effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on our communities, the county board of Rock Island County does hereby encourage the residents of Rock Island County, as well as visitors to Rock Island County, to adhere to all public health recommendations and guidelines related to COVID-19, including the use of face coverings in public areas, when social distancing is not possible or practical."

Westpfahl said Wednesday the county board was "overstepping their bounds" and that people don't need to be told to wear face coverings. 

"If anybody ain't smart enough to wear it on their own accord, this resolution we passed ain't going to make them wear it," Westpfahl said. "What good does it do? If you don't care to wear a face mask, then don't. If you can't go in someplace because you don't have one, then you have to abide by the laws and not go in. 

"We pass too many resolutions and proclamations that have no teeth, have no business, have no bearing on the government of the county," he said. "What does this proclamation have to do with our governing ability? It's our job to provide services for the residents of the county as cheap as we can without any other regards."

Westpfahl said asking residents to wear face coverings should be left up to the Rock Island County Health Department

Simmer could not be reached for comment. 

The Rock Island County Health Department on Tuesday reported an additional 14 coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 1,376 and 30 deaths. In Scott County, the number increased to 1,322 cases and 11 deaths. 

The CDC issued a statement July 14 asking all Americans to wear face coverings outside the home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, citing scientific studies showing people who wore cloth face coverings dramatically reduced the spread of respiratory diseases. 

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