County Board issues resolution strongly recommending face coverings

Friday, June 26, 2020

At Thursday’s Benton County Board of Commissioners meeting, the commissioners issued a resolution strongly encouraging Benton County residents to wear face coverings in public settings where a minimum of six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained between people. 

A resolution differs from an ordinance. A resolution expresses a decision, opinion, policy or directive, whereas an ordinance creates a law that governs everyone. The commissioners elected to issue a resolution in the hopes of gaining voluntary compliance with face covering protocols. If the county sees a large spike in COVID-19 cases, the commissioners may examine issuing an ordinance requiring face coverings. 

“We chose to proceed with a resolution of recommendation, rather than opting in to the Governor’s requirement for face coverings in public and business settings as it stands for seven counties. We recognize that the situation is dictated by the virus, and our stance may change in future,” said Commissioner Xan Augerot. “We’ve done a great job flattening the curve here in Benton County and now it’s time to focus on protecting our gains.” 

A portion of the resolution reads:

“WHEREAS, Benton County having progressed to Phase 2 of Oregon pandemic precautions, needs to protect the gains made and prevent increased occurrence of COVID-19 illness that could cause the State or County to reimpose tighter restrictions, adversely impact the health care system, and the imperil essential workers; and

WHEREAS, Current medical and public health science strongly supports personal precautions including handwashing, personal distancing, and masking / face-covering as effective measures for limiting transmission of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Benton County Commissioners strongly recommends the public wear masks or face-covering at all times in indoor settings and also outdoors while working or recreating unless a minimum distance of 6 feet can be maintained.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Benton County Commissioners strongly recommends all businesses consider requiring masks or face-covering for customers and employees.”

The resolution can be read in full below.