On Friday, Dec. 4, the Palmer City Council will read the final 250 some written testimonies on a highly controversial proposal to impose a citywide mask mandate. Once the letters are read into the record, which will likely take five to six more hours, the council can debate and vote.
This will be the third time this meeting has been extended due to a flood of citizen comment – both in person and written. The vast majority have been in opposition.
Initially it appeared as if the liberal block of the city council had just enough votes to pass a mask mandate, as they enjoy a 4-3 majority. But since the mandate is an “emergency order” it will require six votes in order to become law. This is highly unlikely, as Mayor Edna DeVries and Assemblymen Richard Best and Steve Carrington all appear to have major issues with forcing residents to mask up.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
The mask mandate idea was introduced by Deputy Mayor Sabrena Combs and Councilwoman Jill Valerius. It is modeled closely on Anchorage’s highly contentious mask mandate and requires face coverings in nearly all indoor and even outdoor settings. Businesses would carry the burden of enforcing the law as it requires them to remove anyone who fails to comply.
According to the ordinance, “All individuals must wear masks or face coverings over their noses and mouths when they are indoors in public settings or communal spaces outside the home, or outdoors when at a gathering or, when not at a gathering, when 6 feet of physical distancing from non-household members, (or small chosen close group) cannot be maintained.” There are very limited exceptions for young children and those with disabilities.
- The upcoming meeting on Dec. 4 begins at 4 p.m., but there will be no in-person testimony apart from initial audience participation. The bulk of the meeting will be set aside to read some 250 written comments.
- Click here to contact city council members via email or by phone.
- Click below to read the mask mandate ordinance: