Canton passes mandatory mask order


The city of Canton is the only municipality in the county that has enacted a mandatory face mask, which went into effect Tuesday night. 

Canton Mayor Dr. William Truly, who has previously said the majority of Madison County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases are in the northern part of the county, said those found in violation of the new order could be subject to fines.

“As a practicing physician and as the Mayor of the City of Canton, it is extremely important that the citizens of Canton understand the sacrifice that must be made and the importance of distance socialization,” Truly said. “It is critically important that the citizens of Canton follow the follow the guidelines of the CDC in mitigating the spread of this dreadful virus.” 

A set of rules for all citizens of Canton to follow came with this order, and fines will be issued if the rules aren’t followed. The first violation will be given a citation of warning, and a second citation by a business will result in its closure and a $1,000 fine. A $500 fine will be issued for an individual. A business may reopen upon the decision to abide by the order.

“Businesses will now have to require all of its customers to wear a mask before entering a store; no mask, no entry,” Truly said. “This applies to all restaurants, grocery stores, bars, liquor stores, or any other place of business. If you are out in public, you must wear a mask for the safety of others, and if you work at a restaurant, you must wear a mask and gloves when interacting with any customers.” 

Truly included that any person who is older than two years old and medically able to tolerate a face covering is required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask in public places if they’re not able to maintain at least six feet of social distancing. 

“Medical masks are not required, as long as what you’re wearing prevents the spread of saliva or other fluids when speaking, coughing, sneezing, or any other involuntary action,” he said.  

The mayor noted that, along with these rules, there’s also a set of specific exceptions. Masks are not required when you’re exercising or engaging in physical activity, if you’re driving, or if you face physical health problems, such as having trouble breathing. He also suggested that employers promote social distancing and limit contact as much as possible within the workplace where masks could be a risk, such as pumping gas, places with security surveillance like banks, or when working alone in office spaces or non-public workplaces where six feet of social distancing may be consistently maintained.

In places like salons, barbers, and beauty shops, a mask is required that should cover the customer’s mouth and nose. Exceptions include removing the mask in which a service is provided, and this cannot be provided while wearing a mask. 

Federal, State, or county government officials (state-owned museums, county-owned libraries, federal agencies, etc.) are exempt from this order. According to the mayor, it will remain in place indefinitely until it is modified, amended, or terminated. 

On Tuesday, Madison aldermen passed a resolution strongly urging residents and businesses to require facemasks, stopping short of a mandatory ordinance. 

In Ridgeland, Mayor Gene F. McGee said they have urged facemasks from the onset of the pandemic and have given out over 7,000 to residents. He said while there is no mandatory ordinance in place, he sees many people wearing them while out in public. 

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said on Tuesday they encourage facemasks to be worn by individuals, dispelling myths that people can get sick from breathing in their own oxygen.

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