Editor, the Leader-News:

Concerning the mandatory mask order passed by city council (6-1) on Monday, June 29, I would like to explain my vote of ‘No’ to the citizens of El Campo.

I feel that I was quoted out of context by the Leader-News in the Wednesday edition. Before the vote was taken, I did say that I would not turn a customer away from our business if they came in without a mask. We have customers sent into our store every morning by their employer for daily supplies. I said that I would not turn anyone away if they were unaware of mask orders. I did not say anything about not following an order after the vote was taken and the mandate was passed by council.

I voted ‘No’ for the following reasons:

1. Experts in the medical field have said over and over that the only mask that will effectively stop the transmission of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases is the N-95 respirator masks. Dr. Brooke Dorotik confirmed this when I specifically asked that question at Monday’s meeting.

The majority of masks and face coverings that I am seeing worn in town come with clear warning labels that they will not protect you from contracting a contagious disease. I made this argument to council ahead of the vote being taken.

2. I asked council to consider passing a resolution asking citizens to wear masks when out in public before mandating that our citizens and businesses comply or face fines.

3. I feel that it’s a business owner’s constitutional right and choice to allow or disallow masked or unmasked customers into their own place of business.

In my opinion a city mandate should not make that decision for them.

A great example of this is the policy H-E-B has decided put in place. Effective Wednesday July 1, H-E-B decided to require all customers who decide to enter their doors to wear a face mask regardless of local, county or state requirements. That was their business decision to make.

I will comply and wear my mask upon entering their store because I choose to do my grocery shopping there.

I also recognize that I have the choice to take my business elsewhere if I disagree with their policy. It’s my individual choice.

I believe that local, state or federal government should never be allowed to threaten business owners with fines over an individual’s personal choice to wear a mask or not.

4. I also feel that each and every citizen has the same constitutional right that should be respected.

Sincerely,

David Hodges

El Campo city councilman and local business owner

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