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City council discusses repealing mask mandate

Newly elected Odessa mayor, Javier Joven, held the first city council work session this morning at the downtown Marriott
Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 8:39 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Newly elected Odessa mayor Javier Joven held the first city council work session this morning at the downtown Marriott.

In November, former Mayor David Turner signed a declaration that placed the responsibility of enforcing the mask mandate on business owners.

Today, new mayor Javier Joven and the city council discussed what it would take to repeal that decision.

Mayor Joven has been very vocal about not liking the previous mayor’s mask mandate.

Many council members brought up the fact that Odessa’s COVID hospital numbers have been down since Turner enforced the mandate.

Mayor Joven says he wants to discuss further when it will be safe to remove the council’s mandate.

“We have to get to a point where we have to start discussing what that magic number is? What has to take place in our community that we feel safe enough to take these guidelines and these guards down and we try to get to some semblance of normalcy, whatever that’s going to be,” said Mayor Joven.

District 5 councilwoman Mari Willis supported Turner’s mandate and voted in favor of extending it as well.

Willis says she thinks the city council did the right thing today by leaving the mask mandate active.

“Our medical staff, our first responders have almost begged us to please support them in doing this. We as a city and as leaders of this city should be quick to do that. So I’m really pleased. I want to thank the citizens of the city for agreeing and respecting that order. It has worked. Our numbers are going down,” said Willis.

The mask mandate has been a dividing issue since the beginning of the pandemic.

Mayor Joven has been clear that he believes wearing a mask should be up to the individual and not enforced by the government.

“I get criticized if I wear it; I get criticized if I don’t wear it. It’s just a sign of the times. In the end, what I always ask, respect the difference of opinion whether someone wears it or not. Let’s be civil,” said Mayor Joven.

There was no vote today since it was a work session, but the mask mandate is expected to be discussed at the next meeting.

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