RALEIGH – Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin made it pretty clear what was coming. After reportedly being appalled, disgusted, and irate that certain residents of the City of Oaks would be so audacious, so reckless as to go out to eat downtown on a beautiful day…and not wear face masks, the mayor of Raleigh asked the City Council to give her the power to mandate their use in public.
In a unanimous vote, the Raleigh City Council gave Baldwin the power and she promptly issued the order requiring face masks in public places of the city jurisdiction starting at 4PM Friday.
“[…] The City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to authorize Baldwin to take the step, noting that Wake County has the second-highest number of coronavirus infections in North Carolina and that the numbers keep growing.
The requirement takes effect at 4 p.m. Friday, and the mayor said Raleigh is working with WakeMed and Wake County to try to supply masks or other coverings to people who don’t have any.
Masks aren’t required for children 12 and under or for people who cannot wear them because of medical or religious reasons.
Baldwin said she was irate that crowds of people without masks and ignoring social distancing guidelines were milling about outside restaurants in the Glenwood South area over the weekend.
“That was alarming,” she said, adding that she saw numerous people, including elderly people, without masks at her supermarket on Saturday. [..]”
So, part of the reason Baldwin was so irate is that elderly people, the ones at heightened risk of problems with coronavirus, were…making their own decisions in being responsible for themselves. Do you see how, in the collective fear game, it quickly turns into a dangerous game of collective control over your individual life. The mayor was incensed that people weren’t listening to her, to the consensus, and were simply living their lives in ways not dominated by fear, and so she reacted with a demand for power to force them.
Except she won’t, force them.
The rules dictate masks are required in grocery stores, pharmacies, public transit, protests and large gatherings, and sidewalks and parking lots. Masks will not be required for children under 12, in restaurants while dining, in private offices, or on account of medical conditions or religious beliefs.
(Note: the exceptions would include the Glenwood South diners that infuriated her so)
But Baldwin also told reporters that Raleigh Police Department will not be enforcing the order on anyone for not wearing a mask in public.
“[…] Raleigh police won’t be citing anyone for not wearing masks in public, Baldwin said, noting that the city wants to focus on education to get people to comply.
“I think people will follow rules. This is a rule,” she said, comparing it to the drop in people watering lawns during a drought more than a decade ago after Raleigh banned it. […]”
What? Why has the passing of ordinances, laws, or executive edicts become so flippant that you issue them with ZERO expectation of enforcing it. Does that not undermine the entire point and institution of Raleigh city government, and the emergency act Baldwin operates under?
Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad that the Raleigh PD, with all that law enforcement officers are currently dealing with, will not also be burdened with orders to enforce an overreaching and expansive face mask requirement.
As for the rest of the county, surrounding towns are mostly cool to the idea if requiring face masks. Only one other municipality (Knightdale) is considering the mandate, with the rest saying, ‘No thanks.’
Governor Cooper, however, has publicly announced public face mask mandates are under consideration on a statewide basis. Living in the Raleigh bubble that he does, and repeatedly demonstrating his penchant for authoritarian measures, despite how useless they are, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him follow Baldwin with an overreaching order that similarly has no teeth.
Read more about the Raleigh order here.