How South Burlington is enforcing mandatory mask requirement

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 7:51 AM EDT
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To wear or not to wear. It's required by some local governments to wear a mask in city-owned or public stores and businesses, but it isn't always enforced.

On June 15, the city of South Burlington put into effect a mandatory mask requirement for everyone who goes out in public.

"We came up with a plan where we let municipalities determine if they want to be more strict than we are and a number have determined to do so," said Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont.

A few days ago, Governor Scott acknowledged that the power is in the hands of the towns and cities in Vermont to create their own mask regulations.

South Burlington had already made that decision.

"I like everybody to wear a mask. I don't like to see people without masks," said Nancy Somers of South Burlington.

The city of South Burlington first tried to encourage people to wear masks, but after a few weeks, city councilors decided to make it a requirement.

But what is a rule without the means to enforce it?

"We don't have any means of enforcement so the public won't see our police department ticketing people for not wearing masks," South Burlington City Manager Kevin Dorn said.

Dorn says that in this case, the city is not out targeting those leaving the mask at home. But it gives leverage and justification to business owners to enforce it themselves.

"We understand that many businesses and owners of facilities are doing their best to comply with the requirement put in place by the City Council, but there are simply people that don't want to wear a mask," said Dorn.

Dorn also says he knows there are people who do not agree with the requirement and refuse to wear a mask or have a medical condition.

He says business owners should do their best.

"We are not asking our business owners to lose business over this but to try their very best to require people to wear masks when they are in their facilities," said Dorn.

But it's not entirely up to businesses. Dorn says wearing a mask is up to you.

"So if you have respect and compassion for the health of other people, wear a mask in public. It's not about you, it's about them," said Dorn.

Although there is no strict way for the city to enforce the policy, Dorn is still asking the public to wear a mask for the foreseeable future.