COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - Columbus city leaders are concerned the public has abandoned safety measures put in place by local officials.
Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton held a news conference Wednesday where he addressed the city’s mask mandate.
Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton, Photo Date: Dec. 2, 2020
He said police have been having a difficult time with people not wearing masks.
He said these mandates are nothing new in the city.
“This is not something; we put this out in October. So again now we’re at December and it’s still an ongoing problem,” he said.
Shelton said the City of Columbus reached its peak in the number of positive cases and deaths.
He added now is not the time to relax on the mask mandate.
“This is a public safety issue, not just an enforcement issue, but it’s a public safety issue,” Shelton said. “People are actually dying, and so what we want to do is try to get things in place that eliminate people dying and getting infected.”
Shelton said some bars and restaurants in the area aren’t enforcing the mandates.
“We have heard their, the citizens' complaints. We’ve heard their cries and now we’re going to address them.”
Columbus police issued eight citations to those unwilling to comply. The citations ranged anywhere from $300 to $1,000.
Shelton said he and the police department will do what it takes to keep the city safe.
“We’re in the joyous season where people want to enjoy themselves and have a little Christmas spirit or whatever, but again we have to be concerned about the overall health of the whole community.”
As of Dec. 2, the City of Columbus and Lowndes County require masks.
Shelton said the city's order is scheduled to expire on Dec. 11. He believes the mandate will be pushed further to help people in the community feel safe throughout the holidays.