LEWISTON - At a special meeting held on Thursday, November 19, the Lewiston City Council voted to implement a mask mandate for the city of Lewiston by a vote of 4-3. The mandate will go into effect Friday.
Councilmembers John Pernsteiner, Cari Miller and Mayor Mike Collins voted in opposition of the mandate, while Bob Blakey, John Bradbury, Kevin Kelly and Kathy Schroeder voted in favor.
Pernsteiner mentioned that he is not "anti-mask," but instead worried about the burden passing such a mandate would put on the local police department to enforce it.
"This is a health issue, not a political issue," said councilman Bradbury.
Councilman Blakey also proposed an amendment to the ordinance, adding a termination date of on or before January 25, 2021 for which the council will meet again to re-evaluate the ordinance. That amendment also passed by a vote of 4-3.
Blakey also proposed a separate amendment that would have made the first offense constitute just a 'warning,' however that was denied. A first offense could potentially result in a fine. More specific details about the mandate will be added when it becomes available.
The meeting started out with almost four hours of in-person and written citizen comments, from residents on both sides of the issue, before a vote was taken around 8:40 p.m. Some citizens stated in their comments that if a mandate was passed, they "will not comply."