Masks now required indoors in Adams County, but no penalty for offenders

Published 6:04 pm Monday, August 16, 2021

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NATCHEZ — On Monday, Adams County officials unanimously approved a mask requirement for all indoor spaces where adequate social distancing is not feasible. However, officials said they will not require anyone to enforce it.

Adams County Attorney Scott Slover said the “mask requirement” is different from a “mask mandate” because it is not law. Rather, it is a rule maintained by “self-policing” from the community, he said.

There is no penalty for those who do not wear a mask, Slover said.

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The Adams County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the requirement at the recommendation of Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford, who said he could not obtain free masks, hand sanitizer and other supplies to distribute to the public without one in place.

In previous board meetings, officials did not support mandating masks inside of county-owned facilities as Bradford requested. Supervisor Ricky Gray moved for a mask mandate in county buildings twice in consecutive board meetings and it failed both times without another supervisor seconding his motion.

However, county officials maintain that everyone should consider getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The most important thing you can do is talk to your doctor,” Supervisor Wes Middleton said. “The vaccine will not kill you, but COVID can. … Do what you think is right so we can get back to where we need to be.”