County not requiring masks, does recommend

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met as the Board of Public Health for a special meeting on Thursday, July 2 to determine if they would follow Governor Kelly’s recommendations to mandate mask-wearing when out in public.

The board heard from Marion County Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene. Serene has stated the importance of wearing masks on multiple occasions which was mentioned by the commissioners.

“As long as the county strongly recommends it, I don’t have anything to add. You know my point of view,” said Serene.

Marion County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hodson said, “I want to remind you that you are acting as the Board of Health and not as commissioners. It is not a political decision. It’s a public health and safety decision and those two don’t always line up. I agree with the governor on this. I guess that is all I have to say.”

Gehring suggested making a strong recommendation that masks be worn and Crofoot agreed. Commissioner Kent Becker stated that he would prefer it be a recommendation and not strongly recommend it.

“I agree with Kent,” said Novak.

Dallke, who called into the meeting by phone, stated that he would prefer just recommend.

Commissioner Jonah Gehring stated that he would be open to reviewing the mask order if cases rose above what they were during the Stay at Home order. Commissioner Randy Dallke agreed with this.

Commissioner Dianne Novak stated multiple times that she would never wear a mask and did not expect anyone else to.

The Board voted and passed the resolution to recommend wearing a mask. It will not be mandated or enforced.