Fort Myers city leaders vote against mask mandate

Published: Updated:
Seal of the City of Fort Myers. Credit: WINK News.

You could count on your fingers how many people gave public comment in person, but of the 147 emails sent in by Fort Myers citizens, 112 of them ere in favor of a mask mandate.

However, after a long meeting Thursday afternoon, the mandate failed.

Instead, Councilman Kevin Anderson made a motion to encourage businesses to mandate masks in their stores, like what Costco is currently doing.

“We’re not making a decision here, Kevin,” said Teresa Watkins-Brown. “You know that policy or resolution, it’s nothing. What is it? It’s nothing!”

Council members Gail Antony, Fred Burson, Kevin Anderson and Mayor Randy Henderson still stood strong on their beliefs. They voted “no.”

“This is an act of taking personal freedoms away from the United State citizens and that’s something I object to,” Henderson said.

“What you should do is live instead of worrying about dying,” Burson said.

Councilmembers Terolyn Watson, Teresa Watkins-Brown and Johnny Streets took the loss.

“People are dying in my part of the city and I want it to stop,” Watkins-Brown said.

“Let’s not make this political. This is about saving lives,” Streets said.

Henderson said the city should lead by example. He wears his mask, has been tested twice and says the government should do the same by giving out masks and hand sanitizer.

Mask mandates are an issue many feel strongly about.

In a social experiment, WINK News tallied the first two hundred people walking out of a Walmart along Colonial Blvd and Six Mile to try to and answer the question—how many people are wearing a mask?

The results showed 143 people wore a mask and the other 57 did not. That means 71.5% were wearing a mask.

That is different than when we’ve done experiments and polls like this in the past where 50-percent of you told us you do wear a mask in public while the remaining 50 percent either don’t wear one or are against mask mandates.

With that discussion on the table again Thursday, this time in Fort Myers, many we spoke with were leaning in favor of requiring face masks when entering buildings and areas with high volumes of people.

“I’d like to see all of us wear a mask right now just a cover and protect all of us because we don’t know who’s got what,” said Fort Myers resident, Christa Ivey.

Another resident who previously did not wear masks, says they now are when out in public.

“You’re in the store, we didn’t have one we keep our distance, but I do think currently with how it’s going at this point they should,” said Fort Myers resident, Mary Rose.

Right now Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and Punta Gorda all require masks to be worn when you enter buildings and other indoor areas.

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