No mask mandates
While some counties and municipalities are tightening COVID-19 restrictions as case counts go up, Camden County has no plans to issue any new restrictions or pass a mandatory mask mandate.
Associate Commissioner Don Williams, the only Camden County Commissioner to respond to questions regarding a mask mandate, said he believes a mask mandate is an over-reach of government power.
Williams said the commission has received a few inquiries from concerned residents asking them to pass a mask ordinance requiring people to wear masks in public but the county is not going to take that step.
Williams said, at this point considering how spread out the population is, he doesn’t feel like a mask mandate would be effective or could even be enforced. And, without a mask mandate in all the surrounding counties, the commission doesn’t believe it would have much of an impact.
“However, I would encourage everyone to take this virus seriously. We must take responsibility for our own health and safety and that includes wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowds,” Williams said. “I do not personally feel that government – any level of government – has the authority to compel people to wear a piece of fabric on their faces when they are merely walking down the street.”
Williams said at some point, people have to take on a level of personal responsibility. That said, any business has the right to require patrons to wear a mask if they choose, and those requirements should be honored.
“But I am in those stores by choice. Governments act by force and I feel that a mask mandate is an over-reach of government power,” he said.
Williams said even if the commission did implement an ordinance, the county doesn’t have the resources to enforce it.
Early on when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Williams said the commission did take action imposing health ordinances to slow the spread of the virus. He said the action worked and the lake area was able to open back up for the season.
As of Nov. 14, the Camden County Health Department reported 2,124 positive COVID-19 cases since March 21. Of those, 1,694 were considered recovered with 390 active cases. Camden County has reported 40 deaths related to COVID-19.