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CS City Council to discuss future of local COVID-19 safety protocols

Posted at 6:01 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 20:55:47-04

COLLEGE STATION, TX — Almost 2 weeks have passed since Governor Abbott lifted the state-wide mask mandate earlier this month, but even though the order has been lifted, there are members of the College Station City Council hoping to have a hand in getting it looked at again.

There are a handful of things to watch for during the city council meeting on March 22, including No 5, an item pertaining to pandemic protocols.

Titled 'Pandemic Protocols', the council will consider a resolution encouraging Gov. Abbott to reinstate the state-wide mask mandate. However, there's still the task of handling the legal restrictions placed on cities and counties.

"Governor Abbott also put some restrictions on cities and counties, saying, they could not individually have a mask wearing mandate and if they were to do so, he would address them through the State Attorney General Ken Paxton and sue them," Mayor Mooney of College Station shared with 25 News.

In the meantime, Mayor Mooney says Governor Abbott also said you could no longer fine or incarcerate anyone if they failed to wear their mask. However, businesses could still require customers and staff the wear them.

"Here in the City of College Station we have some council members, one in particular, who is very impassioned about mask-wearing and he read his first draft of a resolution at the last council meeting," Mayor Mooney added.

The CS Mayor says, they are not voting on a mask ordinance on March 22.

The CS Mayor shared with 25 News, that it's the council's job to hear each others' opinions and that's exactly what they plan to do during this meeting.

A draft resolution encouraging people to continue using good judgment and heightened protocols was offered by staff on Monday evening and council agreed on that language, approving 6-0.

"We are going to talk about it, and we will see if there is a majority that says, let's do a resolution, and whether or not we come up with a resolution, but we are not creating another mask ordinance for the City of College Station because we are prohibited from doing so by the Governor," Mayor Mooney explained earlier in the day.

College Station resident, Jamie Manaay, says, having an open dialogue between council members with varying viewpoints is important for Democracy.

"If one voice dominates the other, then there's not going to be that open discourse. I feel like once that goes away, that's a really slippery slope. Like 'no masks'... free for all... well, clearly, we have seen that's not a good idea, but then there's also when you are driving by yourself in your car, you have to wear a mask, that's equally as ridiculous." Manaay shared.

"I am getting it from both sides. I am getting it from people who say 'if we are not wearing masks, this is going to prevent me from going into businesses.' One of the things that I said when we heard that the Governor was lifting the mandate, I pleaded with our local businesses, such as HEB, who have large numbers of people, please, continue to utilize those services that you created during the pandemic, curbside service, delivery," Mayor Mooney said.

"Some people see someone without a mask, they get a little concerned and I understand that, but we have the other side too, who say, that it's their right to choose whether or not wear a mask and I understand that viewpoint too," Mayor Mooney said.

Mayor Mooney said, he thinks, for the most part, that there is still safety in wearing a mask. "they are not a cure, but they certainly slow the spread,"

Over in Bryan, city staff says they are not aware of any similar agenda item in the works.