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Mayor of Fort Smith speaking out after face mask ordinance tabled

Despite the issue being tabled, Fort Smith Mayor George McGill would like to see a mask ordinance passed in the city.

FORT SMITH, Arkansas — Fort Smith Mayor George McGill is speaking out of after a mask ordinance was tabled by city leaders over the weekend. 

On Saturday (July 11), the Fort Smith Board of Directors held a special meeting to discuss a face mask ordinance for the city. After a long discussion, board members voted 4-3 on tabling the face mask ordinance for a later date.

RELATED: No decision made on Fort Smith Mask ordinance

RELATED: Arkansas governor issues executive order allowing cities to require masks amid coronavirus case surge

Mayor George McGill released this statement following the board member's decision:

“I really appreciate the Board of Director's efforts to pass Governor Asa Hutchinson’s mask mandate ordinance in a timely fashion," Mayor McGill said. "The Governor, the Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Municipal League, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and our two local hospitals (Mercy and Baptist) strongly urge the passage of this ordinance."

In addition to this being a clear case of public health and safety, it’s important to remember that the Governor is a strong supporter of Fort Smith. He’s always made sure that resources, jobs, recognition, and educational opportunities come to our region. The time has come to stand strong and support our Governor, a man who is a true friend of Fort Smith. 

Real leadership requires asking people to see beyond the narrow lens of “me” and encouraging them to embrace the responsibility of “we”. The Lord puts it so clearly in John 13:34 when he commands us to “love one another.” 

Wearing a mask during this time of crisis is an act of love. By enduring a minor change to your routine, you will prevent germs from spreading farther and wider than they otherwise would. It’s my role as Mayor to encourage love, kindness, decency, and respect for one another in the River Valley. 

Even with more people acknowledging the seriousness of this virus, I strongly believe that the best way to achieve a healthier city is to pass the Governor’s mask mandate ordinance. I have complete confidence that our City Administration will be thoughtful and respectful in the implementation of the Governor’s ordinance. It is imperative for the health and safety of our community that the Board of Directors pass this ordinance at the July 21, 2020, Board Meeting or sooner if possible”.

Monday (July 13) night, the Fort Smith Board of Education will meet to discuss requiring mask for students and faculty for the upcoming school year. The meeting will take place at the Service Center Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. 

RELATED: Fort Smith Public Schools to discuss masks for students and staff

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