A $250 fine for failure to wear a mask or a nose and mouth covering will soon be signed into order, per the Washington County Board of Supervisors.
The order was decided by a vote of 3-2 with BOS president Carl McGee and vice president Lee Gordon voting opposed in the motion made by District 4 Supervisor Mala Brooks.
“We want people to wear masks and I don’t have a problem with people being warned or cautioned,” McGee said. “A lot of people in my district can’t afford to pay a $250 fine.”
Another concern of McGee’s is the extra burden on the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
McGee acknowledged as a whole, the BOS is concerned about the safety of all residents and recognizes that residents’ health is foremost.
McGee also understands sometimes people will do exactly what they want to do, but it does not necessarily warrant a $250 fine.
“Giving them a warning or a citation” is what McGee said he thinks is reasonable.
“People who don’t adhere to the guidelines are going to suffer a greater penalty than $250,” he said.
Sheriff Milton Gaston said they are not issuing any tickets at this time. He said once the order is signed, he and the department will examine it in depth and go from there.
“Washington County is a big county,” Gaston said. “So, that’s going to be a lot of work for the department to do.”
“We are on an incline in terms of cases of COVID-19 and people in this area are really not taking it seriously,” District 2 Supervisor Tommy Benson said. “So, what the county’s board decided to do was to only support what was already in place.”
Benson reiterated the seriousness of the rising number of cases and added as a board, they want to make sure people in Washington County wear masks so they can begin to see the number of cases go down.