May 23 · From Commissioner Robert Pressley For everyone who has read or heard about yesterday’s Buncombe County Commission emergency meeting, you now understand why we need a change in leadership.
In a 4-3 vote along party lines, the majority Democrat commissioners approved an order to require employees and patrons to wear masks inside commercial businesses, such as restaurants and retail stores.
As commissioners, our job is to support our community, not to create unnecessary rules or hardships. We should suggest options for the safety of our citizens, but we should not approve mandates without solid evidence. We don’t legislate based on opinions or partisan agendas. We owe it to the people we represent to research and base our decisions on facts.
These are very serious times we are in. This virus is real and tensions are high. It is important to research all available information and potential issues and those must be considered and weighed in every decision we make.
I don’t believe Commission Chair Brownie Newman + 3 did so before approving this face mask order and I don’t support overriding the state with stricter requirements. If the state believes a recommendation is sufficient, then I don’t think we should mandate that citizens or businesses in Buncombe County be held to higher standards than others in North Carolina, especially when such an order cannot be enforced.
Our businesses have already been hit hard by the shut down. We should not be driving people to visit counties outside of Buncombe in order to avoid complying with an unnecessary mandate.I am asking our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to amend this order to make it a recommendation, as other cities and counties across the country have had the wisdom to do.