Region focuses on mask education, not citations

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The City of Bowman will be stressing education when it comes to enforcing the recent state-wide mask mandate established Nov. 13 by the governor executive’s order.

During the city’s Nov. 17 commission meeting by teleconference, the city officials discussed the need to stress education when it came to Gov. Doug Burgum’s push for mask usage several days earlier.

They were not alone.

Education over citation

Bowman County Sheriff Frank Eberle has taken the same position, publicly stating that the department will not enforce the mandate, but that local businesses can.

“Most have seen the Governor’s mask mandate. Be comforted, my deputies nor I will force this mandate on any of Bowman County,” he said. “I encourage all citizens to not only consider the mandate, but also consider others. This being said, privately owned businesses can deny you in their business. Be safe out there friends and family, we will get through this storm.”

In neighboring Hettinger County, Sheriff Sarah Warner agreed with stressing education while still warning county residents of the serious health threat they have in the county, state and nation.

On the department’s Facebook page, the sheriff explained that “In Governor Burgum’s statement he asked law enforcement to prioritize education and to only reserve penalties for the most egregious violations. This has always been the mission of Hettinger County Sheriff’s Office.

“Hettinger County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing mask mandates and mandates on businesses with citations. This is a health issue and should not be turned into a criminal issue.”

In addition, the sheriff warned that it is the business owners who have to make a decision.

“Individual business owners will need to decide whether or not they want to comply with the guidelines Governor Burgum has put forward. Please remember to be respectful of one another. Businesses do have the right to ask customers to wear masks and can refuse service. If you are uncomfortable wearing a mask then you also have the right to take your business elsewhere.”

Still, the sheriff advised people to be considerate and respectful of their neighbors. The sheriffs in Stark and other counties made similar public statements, both on Facebook and in local media.

Mask usage The Bowman County Public Health Department has stressed the need for people to look to the information posted by the Center for Disease Control to find out the best information regarding masks, how to correctly use them and the impact they have in stopping or curtailing the pandemic by community spread. According to the CDC, the reason for wearing masks is to cut down on the way COVID-19 spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets. The droplets travel into the air when people cough, sneeze, talk, shout, or sing. The droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people who are near you or they may breathe these droplets in.

In addition, the CDC says that masks are a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from reaching others. Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.

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