If you’re one of the people who believes that Guilford County’s monolithic mask mandate is an excessive response to the current COVID-19 threat level, then you no doubt liked what Republican Commissioner Justin Conrad had to say at the board’s Thursday, Oct. 21 meeting.
Conrad, who in August voted against Guilford County’s mandate requiring masks for people indoors at public places, attacked the mandate on several fronts at the meeting.
He said county officials weren’t following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines and said that the criteria being used by the county was too restrictive given current scientific guidance.
Conrad added that the county’s stated vaccination goal for lifting the mask mandate was impossible at any time in the foreseeable future due to a recent vaccine rule change that greatly expands the pool of those eligible for vaccination.
Conrad has submitted a formal request to the clerk to the board that the commissioners hold a hearing on the matter at the board’s next meeting.
The board’s late August motion that established the county’s mask mandate stated, “It is also the Board’s intention to reevaluate this Rule as circumstances change, including if and when the County’s vaccination rate reaches 70% or its positivity rate is at or below 5% for 3 consecutive weeks.”
At the Oct. 21 meeting, Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne pointed out that the commissioners aren’t constrained by any previously adopted conditions. Payne said that, should the board choose to do so, it could do away with the mandate even if certain conditions haven’t been met.
In one comment that turned some heads of those watching the meeting, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said the mask mandate will be used to protect people in the county even if it takes “until May or June of next year.”
The original mandate is set to time out in early January, but Alston has made it clear several times that the board will continue the mandate if the community’s virus conditions aren’t satisfactory.
Conrad said Alston and others behind the mandate were not basing their decisions on facts or CDC advice.
“There’s no science behind this,” Conrad said after the meeting, “They had no rebuttal at all.”
Conrad also said that an apt headline for an article on the current situation could be, “Local Democrats Know More Than The CDC And State Health Department.”
He said the state did away with a mask mandate earlier this year and the CDC stressed keeping community positivity rates at under 8 percent – not the restrictive 5 percent the county is following.
Conrad said that, if the county actually followed CDC guidelines, the positivity rate at current levels would lead the board to remove the mandate.
“The CDC says the elevated status number is 8 percent,” he said, adding that he wonders why Guilford County has been fixated on 5 percent.
He also said it was interesting that the other Democratic commissioners who voted for the mandate earlier this year didn’t come to the aid of Alston during the debate at the meeting. Instead, Conrad said, they sat by and remained largely silent.
In August, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners adopted a mandatory mask mandate for the county on a 6-to-3 vote. The board’s two Republicans, along with one Democratic commissioner – James Upchurch – voted against the mandate. The board’s other Democratic commissioners voted for it.
Conrad added that the county won’t hit a 70 percent vaccination rate by the end of the year.
“There’s no possible way it will happen,” he said.
The 70 percent goal is a percentage of those eligible to get the vaccine and, Conrad pointed out, now a large group of younger recipients has been added to the pool of those eligible for vaccination – so it will be much harder to achieve a 70 percent vaccination rate.
“We’re adding another, what, 8 percent of the population that will be eligible,” Conrad said, “and it will take at least eight to nine weeks if everybody went at once for the other people to be vaccinated. That can’t happen.”
Conrad said the county and state were much better off now than when the state lifted most restrictions this summer.
Alston stated that, no matter what the CDC’s advice is for the country as a whole, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has to make local decisions about what is or isn’t safe in this county based the prevailing situation.
Every time I see Skip on tv he has his nose uncovered by his mask.
You can’t have it both ways.
After being asked to leave at two retail establishments yesterday due to choosing not to mask up we have regretfully decided to no longer visit stores in Guilford County until someone comes to their senses. Chomping at the bit to vote
Please share the retail locations that are discriminating and not honoring the many exemptions to the mandate. While I m glad to support guilford businesses that don’t actively impose the mask the ones that do need to be held accountable
Hear, hear! Let’s all boycott the totalitarian businesses that enthusiastically enforce the Face Diaper mandate. NEVER GO BACK TO THEM!
Most of the numbers are better than May when the state lifted its mandate. Anyone can see that on the CDC Covid site.
I think Skip is part Australian…
It takes a Republican to make sense.
Comrade Skip Alston is loving this being in charge and telling the entire population of Guilford county how they will live their lives. Melvin , you need to read the science , as your party keeps telling everyone, and go with those that have the knowledge, brains and common sense to address this issue. Melvin , you are wrong.
Like most other decisions made these days by Democrats, it is not about the welfare of the people, it is all about having POWER over the people.
Skip Alston is and always will be one of those people. He is a moron !!!
Ahhh Yes, Herr Alston and his minions demand that WE THE PEOPLE follow his command.
Science and common sense have no place in County politics. I am in charge!
Thanks to Justin Conrad for trying to insert some truth into the conversation.
Skip doesn’t have a PhD much less a MD. Get of the cross Skippy, we need the wood!!!!!
Skip Alston just won’t go away. He’s like the Castro of Guilford County. I’d like to see him get 3 or 4 boosters so the county can be rid of him once and for all.
His sheep on the board are mindless nitwits. Sad state here in Guilford County.
Much more pathetic is how many mask themselves and their kids daily with zero idea the majority of the state (country, and world for that matter) outside of anti-science leftist control is, and has been, breathing freely rather than acting like women subject to Taliban rule.
For people who consider themselves smart (here’s lookin at 6 of the commissioners), they make decisions like pot head townies who sleep on their mommy’s sofa and have a world view that indicates they haven’t ever traveled beyond the county border……
Anyone thinking this may end up in court?
Sadly, it seems that those in charge don’t care what science or, reason, or logic proves, they only care to be in control. Therefore, unless they fear losing their high and mighty status we will be wearing masks until we all bow to their mandates to be vaccinated. Plan on wearing masks for a very long time. Resist.
It is not “safe” to tell you what I think on this social media. But, I can say, that it is up to me to determine what is “safe”, and what isn’t, not you.
It’s not “safe” for me to leave my house. Lightning may strike. It is not “safe” for me to stay at home; I might fall and injure myself in the shower.
When did Skip get a medical degree? And what is the motivation to keep us under the thumb of the county? The other commissioners need to man and woman up and outvote Skip 8-1.
And to the other 8: I’m sure some statements have been made to you about not getting support from the Democrats next election. You serve your citizens, not a political party.
I do not believe that the County Commissioners have any legal basis to either pass or enforce this mask mandate. It is not in their legal responsibility as this is a health issue. If the Guilford County Board of Health acted, it could be legal as they mandate such things as vaccinations, not the commissioners. I am surprised that there have been no lawsuits. This is nothing more than a power play by Skip Alston. I go into my building every morning without a mask, I go to my office and do not wear a mask and the places I visit may have a 50% mask compliance. Skip, you can pass anything you wish, but enforcing it is another issue and I can tell you that the average citizen of Guilford County ain’t playing your games.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is the Guilford County Board of Health.
Just need to vote those elitists out who are trying to play King with Guilford county. I hope people remember this.
There has to be a good attorney in Guilford county to challenge this illegal mandate that isn’t on the take by these politicians.
Thank you Commissioner Conrad for trying to get this insane ruling changed. There is no mask mandate in Forsyth county, Alamance County, Randolph County, or Rockingham county. Why should we have to suffer? I will continue to shop and eat out in Alamance County as much as possible. My son received his medical degree from UNC and sees this as over the top and unnecessary. Where did you get your medical degree, Skip???
The Left’s reaction to the Chinese Disease has nothing to do with public health; it’s all about control.
“OBEY, COMPLY, SUBMIT” – Your Democrat masters.
Skip is terrified of covid, and has been since day one. He will never lift the mandate
Dr. Skippy knows best.
Mr. Conrad, thank you for using common sense concerning the mask mandate!! I support you! Please, fight for this issue!
I own a retail store and have had customers walk out when asked to wear a mask. They have also cursed Guilford County . If they realized they were losing sales tax revenue they would change.
Just ignore it.
Current positive rate of testing is below 5% so hard to make case for continued mandate.
The budding tyranny we face was best described by C. S. Lewis:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
Maybe Skip and Nancy need to focus on the fact that the ACC will move its headquarters soon and worry less about the dictatorial political theater of the mask. And to the retailer above: you are correct, I walked out of a store yesterday because I couldn’t take the mask one more minute.