With Georgia being reported to have recorded the largest number of new cases of COVID-19 in the nation over the past seven days, the City of Cairo has re-instituted a requirement for facial masks to be worn when entering a city building.
Cairo Mayor Howard Thrower III, applauded the action of city manager Chris Addleton in issuing the order on Monday.
“Beginning Monday, Aug, 17, the City of Cairo is requiring all visitors to her city offices to wear masks. This is to protect the public and city staff from the highly contagious COVID-19 virus. I fully support those businesses which have a mask policy as well as social distancing and hand sanitizing stations in place. However, the policies must not be ignored by customers. Roughly 40 percent of our population is in a high risk group for one reason or the other: compromised immune system, pre-existing health condition, age, etc. I will not enter a business that does not have and enforce these policies,” Mayor Thrower said.
In terms of infection rates, Grady County is a red county in a red state, meaning we have one of the highest infection percentages in the state. Using an algorithm developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology, in any group of 10 people in Grady County there is nearly a 50 percent chance that one person is infected with this virus, according to the mayor.
“That person could be in front of you in line when you get your groceries. Do you really want to risk being unprotected just for the ease of not fooling with wearing a mask?” the mayor said.
The mayor is not only urging the use of masks in city facilities but throughout the community.
“We are Georgia’s Hospitality City. The great opportunity we have in the midst of this terrible pandemic is to show it. One of the best ways to do this is to show the respect we have for each other. And we can do that by protecting ourselves and our neighbor.
“Let us remember that many younger adults and children can be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. Masks can prevent this group from infecting their parents and grandparents and other older adults with whom they come into contact,” Mayor Thrower said.
He also stated, “With the growing number of cases we are also running out of hospital beds available for COVID-19 patient care. So, please understand, no one is trying to infringe on personal rights. Those of us, individuals and businesses, who are encouraging and even requiring the wearing of masks and social distancing are trying to protect everyone’s rights. If the scientific community is right, we could have a vaccine in a matter of months and this horror could be over. So, until then, be safe and help your neighbor be safe also.”
Governor Brian Kemp’s recent executive order would permit municipalities such as Cairo to issue mask mandates, which Mayor Thrower supports, but it is unlikely the council would support due to concerns with enforcement.
The Cairo City Council will meet again on Monday night, Aug. 24 beginning at 6 p.m.