The Guilford County Board of Commissioners only allowed 10 “speakers from the floor” at the board’s completely virtual Jan. 6 regular meeting – but that was enough for the public to get its message across to the commissioners. 

Usually, speakers who address the board address a variety of subjects, however, on Jan. 6 the focus was on a singular topic: the mask mandate Chairman of the Board Skip Alston had ordered for unincorporated Guilford County three days before.  On this night, every speaker spoke on the mask mandate. Every speaker was opposed to it – and every one was impassioned about that opposition.

The “speakers from the floor” portion of a commissioners meeting isn’t a scientific poll, however the anti-mandate consensus from speakers may have given some food for thought for the board that, on Thursday, Jan. 13, will likely decide whether or not the current mandate extends to all the cities and towns in the county.

One woman speaking on the subject said wearing a mask is actually harmful because the cloth masks most people wear allow COVID-19 to get through but trap disease-causing bacteria inside.

Another woman argued that the mandate tramples on her rights and the rights of other county residents.

“Rights are inalienable and only God can take them away,” she said.

One man cited a number of studies regarding the effectiveness and wisdom of mask mandates.

“If we were really following the science, there wouldn’t even be a vote,” he told the board.

That speaker went on to talk about the negative psychological effects on children of forcing them to wear a mask all day at school.

“Suicides for school-aged girls is up 51 percent,” he said.

Others argued that the current mandate didn’t make sense on any level because, even if one assumes it’s effective against the virus, the existing mandate doesn’t have to be followed by the vast majority of people who live in Guilford County because Greensboro, High Point and other towns in the county didn’t go along with Alston’s mandate.

After almost every speaker, Alston offered the same remark when they finished.

“Thank you for sharing,” the chairman said again and again.

One woman who spoke was even worried about what recent masking moves made by the board will mean for the commissioners’ spiritual future.

“May God have mercy on your souls for what you have done to our children,” she said.