Floyd County commissioners are, for the most part, all on the same page when it comes to mandating masks in public, but are open to suggestions from medical leaders.
They and city commissioners will gather at the Forum River Center Wednesday to hear from medical leaders and discuss the COVID-19 situation in Rome and Floyd County.
Commissioner Allison Watters feels that the hospitals are in good condition and are prepared for an outbreak, but is interested to see what Department of Public Health’s Northwest Georgia district Health Director Dr. Gary Voccio and the rest of the speakers have to say.
“I think he’ll be able to give us good direction and good information,” she said.
Right now, Watters believes people should continue doing what they’ve been told to do by healthcare professionals over the past few months, such as wearing a mask, handwashing and staying six feet apart while out in public.
“I think they’re kind of common sense things,” she said.
Vice Chair Wright Bagby echoed her sentiments, saying he is concerned with the behavior of people in the county and the lack of people wearing masks in public.
“This is not a time to be relaxed,” he said. “People ought to be vigilant and protect people around you and yourself.”
Commissioner Larry Maxey said the current situation is scary, but he believes the commissioners are setting a good example by wearing masks out in public.
“I’m open to suggestions from commissioners on different situations,” he said. “We need to stress the importance of wearing masks, but won’t make it mandatory.”
Chair Scotty Hancock said he doesn’t support mandated mask requirements, but in a social media post he stated that he will continue wearing masks while out in public to help slow the spread of the virus.
The meeting’s speakers are Voccio as well as CEO of Redmond Regional Medical Center John Quinlivan, Harbin Clinic CEO Kenna Stock and President and CEO of Floyd Medical Center Kurt Stuenkel.
Both Watters and Bagby said they want to hear from the panel before making a statement on face coverings, but Bagby said it’d be harder for the county to make masks mandatory than it would be for the city.
Commissioner Rhonda Wallace said that she wouldn’t want to make masks mandatory, but she believes people should wear masks to help protect the elderly and other vulnerable populations.
The 3 p.m. meeting is open to the public at the Forum River Center’s ballroom at 305 Tribune St. Everyone who attends is asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing.