Daphne removes mask mandate in city buildings

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DAPHNE – With a vote of the Daphne City Council, members and other meeting participants removed their masks Monday, May 17.

The council voted unanimously to eliminate the requirement to wear face coverings in public buildings. After the resolution was moved to the top of the agenda at the start of the meeting, council members and audience members removed their masks after the motion passed.

After the vote, Fire Chief LeAnne Tacon, who was hired while the mandate was in place, joked that she had not seen some council members without masks.

“I was going to say, y’all look different,” Tacon said, “I don’t recognize everybody.”

Councilman Ron Scott said the city kept the mandate in place after Gov. Kay Ivey lifted statewide requirements to allow all city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“When the governor changed the requirements statewide on April 9, the mayor requested that the city continue to have, because we had not had an opportunity for all our people, staff, to be vaccinated,” Scott said. “This period of time has now been extended over a month and I think it’s time that we begin to get back to normal.”

Mayor Robin LeJeune said many younger employees had not had a chance to be vaccinated when the state orders changed. The Daphne mask mandate gave those workers the opportunity to be immunized if they chose to do so.

“I appreciate the council for doing that,” LeJeune said. “When the mask mandate was lifted, they had just changed the age requirement for vaccinations, so some of our staff who were younger had not had that opportunity. So, I really do appreciate y’all keeping it for city employees so they could get their chance to be vaccinated and be protected.”

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Daphne City Council voted to close City Hall and other facilities in March 2020. City offices were reopened in January 2021.

The council voted 6-1 on July 6, 2020, to require anyone coming into any building owned and operated by the city to wear a mask or face covering over their nose and mouth. The council voted April 5, 2021 to extend the city mask mandate into May.