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Council Defies JOCO Mask Mandate; City Will Not Enforce

At its regular October 13 meeting, the Holden City Council discussed the extension of the mask mandate issued by Johnson County Community Health Services (JCCHS).

Mayor Doyle Weeks said that comments had been made that Holden city officials don’t care about their citizens.

He said that idea was absolutely not true. Mayor Weeks is against the mandatory mask order and gave reasons as to why he felt the way he did.

He said that there had only been a maximum of 18 cases in Holden at any one time.

According to the Mayor, deaths are not being confirmed as being COVID-related only, versus someone dying from underlying causes while having COVID.

He also pointed out that schools and medical facilities are under their own mask orders.

Mayor Weeks explained that in his line of work, he is very familiar with masks and how to make sure they work properly. “If someone touches one of those masks, then the mask is no good,” he explained. “Masks need to be properly sealed.

People with beards and mustaches can’t get a proper seal on their masks. If a mask isn’t worn properly, it will do no good,” he clarified.

He went on to say the county commissioners are not going to enforce the order and the public does not want it, in his opinion. “My phone and email have been blowing up since the order came out, and the majority of people who have contacted me do not want (to adhere to) the mandate,” he said.

Mayor Weeks confirmed that it will be up to the individual businesses if they want to enforce the order or not.

He said that whatever the businesses choose to do, their decisions will be respected.

“I will not enforce the mask order, and I hope the Council agrees,” Mayor Weeks stated. “It should be the peoples’ choice, not a government mandate.” He then asked for a motion not to enforce the JCCHS mask mandate.

Council members asked how many active COVID cases there currently were in Holden.

Mayor Weeks said that as of last Friday, October 9, there were 13 active cases.

A motion was made for the city not to enforce the county mandate regarding mandatory wearing of masks.

Council took a roll call vote. Councilmen Ray Briscoe and Jim McDaniel abstained for cause.

All others voted in favor of the motion. The council approved the measure of not enforcing the mandatory mask order.

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