Face masks could be making a return in South Burlington’s indoor spaces like stores, restaurants, and city-owned buildings. The council will be deciding on a city-wide mandate Monday night, after the governor made it possible for municipalities to do so, regardless of people’s vaccination status.
“There has been a lot of interest in doing just that, and just as much interest in making sure we do not impose a mask mandate,” city councilor Matt Cota said. “This email has driven more emails, more phone traffic, and emails of concern. It’s singularly the largest issue in terms of engagement with my constituents.”
Matt Cota is one of the city’s 5 appointed councilors. He claims that places such as the library and city hall strongly encourage masks, and even supply them to people. Cota is in favor of masking up, but in a way that’s educational, rather than an enforcement policy that includes repercussions. He adds, it shouldn’t be an extra burden for local businesses, either.
“They cannot, they should not be the ones to enforce any mandate,” Cota said. “They don’t have the training, they don’t have the authority, and they shouldn’t be the ones to de-escalate any confrontations.”
We reached out to several businesses regarding their stance on the issue. One restaurant tells us a mandate makes sense since they’ve been requiring masks for both customers and employees all along. They did note, they’ve gotten some heat from customers on both sides of the table.