County commission will continue to require masks at their meetings


At today’s Alachua County Commission Special Meeting, the board discussed what to do about the County’s Emergency Order, given that the governor has suspended all local restrictions and mandates.

Commission Chair Ken Cornell opened the discussion by stating that he wanted to continue to social distance in County Commission meetings, but he’s ready to remove the plexiglass. He added that he supported continuing to allow the public to make comments by phone “at least through the summer break in July.” He also said he supported recommending masks: “I think we can put a sign up at least recommending that and see if the folks, obviously, may or may not take us up on the recommendation.”

Commissioner Mary Alford said she would prefer the public to wear masks, and “I think if we’re going to ask the public to wear masks, I think we should, also.”

Commissioner Anna Prizzia added, “We don’t know who in the community and the audience is vaccinated or unvaccinated, we don’t want to have to put people on the spot. We can’t really ask them that question anyway, it’s private information, so having them masked, I think, continuing to mask is important.” Prizzia said she also liked giving the public the ability to participate in meetings by phone.

Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler said she is “good with the masking” because she didn’t think the air system is adequate.

“I know that we’re going to hear people say that my liberties are going to be limited because you’re making me wear a mask to attend a public meeting. And all of that stuff. So you know, just prepare to hear that.”

Commissioner Chuck Chestnut also said he had “no issue with the mask order in these chambers, so I think it’s appropriate… And I feel that if we’re going to have the public wear masks, we also wear masks, too… I’ve had my shots, but you know, we don’t know, as Commissioner Prizzia said, we don’t know and we can’t ask that question if they’ve had their shots or not, but at least we can protect those citizens that come in here… who might or might not have had the shot so everyone is protected and no one can say they caught it here, they got sick here or something…. The governor’s made his order, but as County facilities we have that right to impose the mask, so I have no issues with it. I think it’s appropriate… but I know that we’re going to hear people say that my liberties are going to be limited because you’re making me wear a mask to attend a public meeting. And all of that stuff. So you know, just prepare to hear that.”

County Attorney Sylvia Torres briefly reviewed the governor’s order and said the county’s emergency order was “immediately suspended.” She added that the local state of emergency can continue for FEMA reimbursement purposes.

Cornell said he agreed with continuing the state of emergency for funding purposes. “But with regards to the mandatory masking, the signage at the businesses, enforcement of those types of things, I think those have been suspended indefinitely.” Torres added that the gathering restriction is also suspended.

Alford asked how the board would enforce the mask requirement, and Cornell said they would just continue the way they’ve been doing it, “which is, we’ll respectfully ask folks to please put on a mask prior to entering the chambers… if there becomes an issue and they get belligerent, then we’ll ask our bailiff to help with that, but I don’t anticipate that being an issue.”

  • The only thing Alachua County Commissioners have caught is a case of the “dumbarse.” Wearing a mask didn’t and can’t protect anyone from that. Can’t wait to see who files the first lawsuit against them.
    It was quite evident the county attorney was already looking for a way to circumvent the Governor’s orders. Prizzia said, “at least we can protect those citizens that come in here.” Is there anything we can do to “protect” the taypayers from these idiots?
    Cornell made it clear he will do whatever it takes to keep getting funding from state and federal government. Is it any wonder where people get the idea for handouts? Too bad the lazy arses getting the free meals downtown can’t put their damn garbage in a trash bin instead of throwing it on the sidewalks. Maybe the commissioners should put as much effort into that as they do woth slowing traffic on University Ave. I bet if the trash killed a tree they would.

  • No one cares what these corrupt lunatics say. Mary Alford recruited a racist and bigot to call in the last meeting and state “I’m tired of these white people spreading COVID “ the women who called herself Chanae went on a hateful rant about “conservatives” and “Trump” supporters. Mary Alford then celebrated the racist by thanking her on her Facebook page. I’m astonished at the county commissioners arrogance. These people shut down the church, filled a skatepark with mulch and infringed on every citizens rights going so far as to writing/proposing an order for vaccine passports “show me your papers”. They gave themselves a raise during a lockdown when others struggled. There are serious conflicts of interest and they are not in any way bipartisan. I hear nothing but negative comments from the citizens saying “they don’t care, it’s about the money and their left wing views”. Alachua county, we have the power to get these people out of office, get up off your ass and organize. They should have been fired ages ago and some ran unapposed. The city is crap, nothing but a college. I completely understand why the county will split…

  • By the law just passed, no county or state building can demand masking. Maybe it’s time to go to their meetings & civilly refuse. If they throw you out, sue them.

  • Why the masks when no longer necessary? Because the commissions are full of commi control tyrants…
    The left brained control freaks are deluded and think
    They’re right no matter what the facts or science is.
    It’s a problem with their thinking. They still want to
    Be tyrants and the boss of you even though the governor said NO. They can’t let go and are very
    Upset the governor preempted their tyrannical rule.
    The mask is a political thing that lets others know:
    “I’m a commi too”….it’s a cult. Some people wear
    The mask as a fashion statement…some people
    Wear the mask to conceal their identity from
    Facial recognition cameras….some people have
    Been brainwashed by MSM propaganda and have
    Fear that they’re gonna die from an invisible enemy.
    If you’re sick, stay home. Otherwise, I can make my
    Own medical decisions. It’s all about control and
    Spreading that control around the planet. Heard of the great reset? —They’ve done enough psychological
    And physical damage to the people with their edicts.
    If they want to cover their own face because
    They’re nuts, fine…don’t force that control BS on me.
    What’s the most important thing in this life? Freedom & Liberty. I need to breath and I’m in charge of that!
    Breathing is an autonomic function and necessary for life….it should not
    Be tampered with because of someone else’s misguided politics.

  • “I know that we’re going to hear people say that my liberties are going to be limited because you’re making me wear a mask to attend a public meeting. And all of that stuff. So you know, just prepare to hear that.”

    That’s you all you need to know about these politicians.

  • The Alachua County Commission should be more transparent about who they get their marching orders from. Educate this college town and surrounding areas about the global power structure.

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