Odessa’s City Council votes down face mask mandate

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 9:49 AM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -

The Odessa City Council has voted down a proposed mandate that would require everyone to wear a mask while they’re out in public. 

Nearly every council member agreed with only one voting in favor of the order. 

The vote followed a heated meeting where residents questioned not only the reasons behind the council’s order, but their right to execute it. 

Every single person who addressed the council railed against the proposed mandate. 

Some said they didn’t think the government should be allowed to make them mask up. 

“I don’t like more government,” one man said. “Infringing on my rights as a citizen of Odessa.”

“That’s a government edict,” another called out from his seat. “It is not right.”

Others just don’t believe in mask-wearing at all.

“So, I’m not going to wear a mask,” one woman said at the meeting. “Even if you mandate it.”

They also threatened consequences if the mandate passed. 

“Allow is that freedom of choice because we will have that freedom of choice when it comes to re-election time.”

Several of those speakers claimed they won’t wear a mask because they believe they don’t actually stop anyone from catching COVID-19.

“If you have the virus and you’re shedding the virus, that .3 microns are going to shoot through like a jet plane.”

Others claimed masks can cause harm by suffocating people with their own CO2 and collect germs. 

ORMC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rohith Saravanan refuted those claims saying it doesn’t harm surgeons who use them for hours at a time and they have been proven to block spit particles containing the virus from spreading to other people. 

“The pores in this mask do not block gas,” Saravanan said. “The pores emit the movement of droplets. They do not block the movement of the virus, but the virus is not floating around in your lung. It’s in the droplets.”

However, Saravanan like most council members who wore masks at the meeting said despite that research, they still feel people should be able to decide for themselves if they want to wear a mask. 

District 2 Council Member Mari Willis was the sole dissenting voice voting in favor of the order. 

She told the room she didn’t care if this cost her re-election because she said a close friend of hers died from the coronavirus. 

For her, the order was worth a shot because she says getting everyone to wear the masks could save someone else from the same fate. 

“The majority has spoken,” Willis said. “I just hope the citizens of Odessa know from what we stated and from what the doctor’s stated, that it’s important and that we as Odessa strong will step and do the mask wearing. Even though it’s not mandated, it’s needed.”

Mayor Turner said after the meeting he believes they made the right call allowing residents make their own choice about masks. 

However, he also said he wants to get more science-backed information out so everyone can make a smart choice. 

The idea of a mandate was introduced by Odessa Mayor David Turner last week.

You can watch the full meeting below.

Odessa Emergency City Council Meeting

WATCH: Odessa's City Council is holding an emergency meeting this morning to discuss COVID-19 and a possible face mask mandate.

Posted by CBS7 News on Monday, June 29, 2020

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