Sturgeon Mayor Crosswhite breaks tie in favor of mandate
It was a sparse audience in Sturgeon the evening of November 23. They missed a vote that will affect the whole town. The aldermen and mayor voted 3-2 to write an ordinance making mask-wearing mandatory in Sturgeon. They will meet again, 6 p.m., Wednesday November 25 to vote on the final ordinance.
Sturgeon Mayor Steve Crosswhite asked the aldermen to begin by allowing the aldermen to consider modifying the agenda to begin with a mandatory mask ordinance for the city of Sturgeon.
He said making masks optional had not worked. “As you can see from the numbers I have presented, it has not worked. The numbers are climbing.”
He said the neighboring cities of Centralia and Hallsville are considering similar moves, as is the Sturgeon R-V school district.
Crosswhite said it is the opinion of the Boone County Commission the county’s COVID-19 incidence will “spike up even higher next week” due to people gathering over Thanksgiving.
“The first issue is enforcement, people are starting to believe a mandate will result in self-enforcement. An advisory does not motivate the same compliance,” Crosswhite said.
“All the evidence is out there that masks will slow the transmission of COVID-19,” Crosswhite said. “A mandate will make it easier for small businesses to enforce their mask requirements.”
He said he thought the populace would be more interested in complying with mask use if a mandatory mask-wearing regulation were passed.
A 30-day trial period, Crosswhite said, is what he had been advised to start with.
Alderman Ashley Long said she was in favor of the mandate “I think we need to do whatever we can to help our school district and get the kids back in seats”
Crosswhite said he has had a daughter and granddaughters quarantined due to contact with positive cases. “Why don’t we do some proactive things to slow he virus down while the vaccine gets going… My strong recommendation is to do it… City of Columbia, it’s creeping up further and further in our towns.”
Alderman Stan Robinson did not agree with the mandate “I think you will get more participation with an advisory. When you demand people do something, they’re going to dig in their heels and not do it. If you ask somebody, I think you’ll get better participation.” Crosswhite said they had an advisory and it had not worked.
Alderman Janice Butler said she agreed with a mandate, “I would be in favor of it, we’ve got to get something done.”
“The numbers keep going up,” said Alderman Kyle Schultz, “So obviously, how good does a mask work?” mentioning a study from Denmark he said suggested masks did not work “in a measureable amount.”
“From the standpoint of the city, what can we do overall for the good of the community,” Crosswhite asked, suggesting he thought Robinson and Schultz were against it.
City attorney Jackie Robinson said he thought they would see the local businesses doing most of the enforcement, to protect their customers and businesses. Crosswhite said at least two local businesses have not enforced the mask advisory, telling city employees the businesses do not have enforcement powers.
Butler said she had heard “the teachers at the schools are the worst one, they don’t want to wear them.”
Crosswhite said the teachers were wearing masks.
Long moved to create a mask mandate ordinance “to begin as soon as possible, to extend 30 days and we will see what occurs.”
Aldermen Schultz and Robinson voted against
Butler and Long voted in favor.
Crosswhite, “in keeping with my strong belief in the need for this,” voted in favor of the mandate to break the tie.
The agreed to hold a special meeting to vote on the completed ordinance, 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 25.
For the complete article, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard