After error in initial vote, Tifton passes mask mandate

Conditions that qualify as mask exemptions have smaller scope than many realize
Posted at 9:48 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 21:48:45-05

TIFTON, Ga. (WTXL) — The Tifton City Council once again passed the city-wide mask mandate on Monday night, after the first time it was nullified by virtue of "procedural error."

The city-wide mask mandate passed 3-2 and will go into effect on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, and self terminates in 30 days.

"We heard from many people, some who were for a mandate and many that were not in favor," said Wes Ehlers, the Vice Mayor of Tifton. "We heard from business owners and residents as well as visitors to our community."

The first time the mandate was passed was during a special called meeting on Dec. 14, before the city came out and revoked the mandate due to what they called a "procedural error" on Dec. 17.

According to the City of Tifton Charter, “an ordinance shall not be adopted the same day it is introduced, except for emergency ordinances," thus causing a re-vote to be scheduled for the city council meeting on Monday.

Ehlers said he made an attempt to modify the original ordinance to make it into a resolution, which is not a law like an ordinance, but rather Council formally expressing strong support of something.

"My Resolution would have made the education of CDC recommendations the primary method to eradicate COVID-19 in our community," said Ehlers. "The City would have used its CARES Act monies as the source to fund this education and to request that all residents and visitors of the community govern themselves accordingly when out in public. My resolution would have continued until cases dropped below 100 per 100,000 cases instead of 30 days. Unfortunately the attempt to modify failed with a 3-2 vote, thus we have a mandate."

The mandate outlines the following:

  • People are required to wear a face mask or face-covering in public places.
  • There is a 30 day limit on the ordinance.
  • There are no fines associated with the ordinance.
  • It is law and a warning.
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