Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioner’s Skip Alston used his powers as the county’s leader to implement a new mask mandate in unincorporated Guilford County.
However, if Alston wants to extend that requirement to the majority of the population in the county, he’ll need the support of the majority of the nine-member Board of Commissioners – and, by all appearances, the mandate is highly unpopular among county residents, especially Republican leaders.
The mandate, which took effect on Wednesday, Jan. 5, is similar to a previous mandate the Board of Commissioners passed in late summer of 2021 that required everyone in the county to wear masks while indoors at public places like stores, bars, clubs, restaurants and music venues, in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Republican Guilford County Commissioner Justin Conrad voted against the mask mandate previously and said this week he’ll vote against it again if the motion is made. Conrad said the mandate Alston just put in place is strange because, while it does apply to unincorporated Guilford County, the majority of the county’s population isn’t affected. Four small towns – Gibsonville, Sedalia, Pleasant Garden and Jamestown – have also implemented the new mandate, Conrad said, but he noted that, by virtue of the fact that Greensboro, High Point and most of the county’s other key population centers are opting out, the mandate only affects a small percentage of the people in the county.
Guilford County has a population of about 541,000, and Greensboro has roughly 300,000 of those people while High Point is home to about 114,000.
Oak Ridge Town Councilmember George McClellan said that Alston’s move was highly irrational.
“What a mess,” he said, noting that he was “absolutely opposed” to what he called “a sign of insanity” – since, he said, mask wearing is not effective but political leaders keep going back to it as a strategy.
Commissioner James Upchurch has also argued repeatedly that the move isn’t effective, however, Alston said this week that county health officials and area medical leaders have assured him it’s a very effective tool against the spread of COVID-19 and is something that’s needed right now. Upchurch said after Alston’s mask mandate went into effect said that he’d contacted other commissioners in an attempt to persuade them to oppose a move that would make the mask mandate apply everywhere in Guilford County.
McClellan said Alston had the power to make the move single-handedly for unincorporated Guilford County, but added. “Just because you’ve got the power doesn’t mean you have to use it. Every town in Northwest Guilford County is against it.”
Former Republican Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson, who, like McLellan is running for a seat on the Board of Commissioners this year, said he suspects some smaller towns felt pressure to go along because Alston will have a large say as to how millions of dollars of infrastructure money from the federal government are spent. Branson said Pleasant Garden wants more water infrastructure and all the small towns are hoping to see a good chunk of the federal funds recently approved to improve broadband internet service in underserved areas.
On Facebook and other social media sites, the reaction to the new mandate appears solidly opposed.
Conrad said he’s worried Alston has the votes to make the mandate apply in all cities and towns as well as in unincorporated parts of Guilford County.
That vote may be coming at a Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 13.
“I usually don’t agree with Skip’s position on the issues, but he’s an excellent politician,” Conrad said, adding that it would be very rare for Alston to make a move like this if Alston weren’t confident he had convinced a majority of the board to go along.
I sure hope that my post are not being deleted by rhiniotimes like fakebook. I am sick of it.
you gotta get with the progam….
you gotta join the Na…, uh, Socialist party.
I am sorry but Skip is doing this to be politically aligned with the out of control Biden administration. Someone needs to replace Skip ASAP. He had not a clue to how to be a responsible leader in our community.
The Jesse Jackson wanna be who won’t be.
Free Eastern Guilford.
Please have Skip provide the Rhino Times with the metrics provided by the “county health officials and area medical leaders” that show mask use in Guilford County provides a statistically significant impact on SARS-Cov2 source control AND transmission.
Unless there is clear, irrefutable and independently reviewable data to support Skip’s mask claims, then it would appear that he is making a fraudulent claim in order to enact powers of his office.
Spoiler alert: There is no data to support him.
The only data point that he would have an excuse to use is infection rate which even Dr Fauci says is irrelevant given Omicron’s low severity. The only metric that matters is hospitalization rate which we significantly better off than other areas of the county. I wear a mask by choice but this mandate will just bring out the Karen’s and add stress to frontline workers that have to deal with them.
He made the decision based on his gut. And must have had some bad Taco Bell first.
chris why do you constantly jump back and forth over the fence pick a position and stay with it or take a long walk off a short bridge holding a bucket full of liberal horse crap
I have changed my opinion on mandates to fit the circumstance. Omicron is a very different virus than the delta. If you are vaccinated you have very little to worry about but the unvaccinated can at least have a greater chance of participating in herd immunity with some hope of not overrunning our local hospitals. Besides, I am sick the Karen’s and their hissy fits over a small bit of cloth. Bit of a gamble, but it our best chance yet of putting this behind us. (by they way I still support masks as I said since all relevant studies show n95 and surgical masks make a difference.)
But you guys that hold a line to fulfill some false sense of ego or superiority complex hold the line regardless of the truth are foolish. I actually think for myself very nutters that follow the conservative talking points like sheep.
But we already know that by your non-value add comments.
Best wishes even though you as all you can do is call me names versus have a real open debate on a subject.
Aww did we hurt whittle chris’s feelings maybe you can run home and let mommy make the bo bo’s feel better
Skippy you could have all the votes you want. We still won’t comply. These mandates are ineffective and unenforceable. We did not mask up last time and won’t this time either. Do you really think your last mandate had any impact ?? How much money was wasted on giving a few warnings that you can not back up in court with a fine
Doesn’t matter what your party thinks when you are not the majority. For better or worse, this is what Guilford Co. voted for.
Unfortunately, those in power are no longer following the science; implementing mask mandates in the face of over 150 peer reviewed studies that show wearing a mask does not make a significantly statistical difference of you catch or spread the virus.
I am against the mandate but your statement is false. Most peer reviewed studies only say cloth masks are statistically ineffective but both n95 and surgical masks do work if used properly. I will show my source, so now show yours.
This sounds like another good Democratic talking point!There seems to be one person in a basement somewhere that dreams up this jukebox and sends it all over America to the local drones and they then run with it for a week or two .There has not been data presented to prove all that Skip is espousing.Iif so he forgot to state what and what areas are effected. This is Democrats trying to scare the Americans into submission.As you know the federal government doing the same thing and screwing up all that America stands for .They have destroyed the economy,fuel (independence) and inflation is rampant and will take several years to pay off.
Our local and federal government is making every move to that communistic philosophy,so that we will be like Argentina in a few years if we let those Dems stay in charge.
Wholesale changes are required to elementary all Democrats that will be running at midterms.ALL have to go ,and then Biden in 2024.
You were making sense until the ‘communistic philosophy’ comment. Be specific, what about Democrats policy is communistic? They clearly lean to the socialist democracy mindset lately and desire to mirror more socialist countries such as Denmark, Canada, or Sweden. I personally don’t believe their models work well here in US but to compare Democrats to Russia, Cuba, Vietnam, etc… is just fear mongering BS unless you have specific examples that I am missing.
Bet you can’t name any that hold up any basic level of scrutiny. But fear monger away Rich. Still a free country as much as it was under Republican leadership.
George McClellan says what he thinks people want to hear. Being on the Oak Ridge council proved that. He’s a “yes” man on just about everything regardless of the impact on the very people he’s supposed to represent. It appears he’s trying to get votes at this point. As for Alston well, it’s a power trip plain and simple. Let people choose for themselves we don’t need you to tell us how to live our lives!
Anti-mask is so last week, Anti-vaxx is what all the cool Republicans are facebooking each other about now. Get with the program people!
Just want you to know chris I did not write the above post.