The Lyon County Commission held a special meeting to discuss the current health order on Wednesday morning.
No decisions were made during the meeting; however, the discussions highlighted the complexities in regard to the issue of extending the mask mandate further. The discussion was intended to include County Health Officer Dr. Ladun Oyenuga, but she was unable to attend.
“I do know that the last time we did our new health order, Dr. O[yenuga] said the biggest thing was the masks,” Commissioner Scott Briggs said.
The commissioners discussed how the mask mandate is currently a mask mandate without penalty and whether this would be any different from simply revoking the mask order and strongly recommending masks instead.
Lyon County Controller Dan Williams argued that the difference between the two would be in people’s responses, suggesting that within two weeks of a recommendation being made the commission would likely see a dramatic decline in people wearing masks.
“But are you going to see a big increase in cases?” asked Commissioner Doug Peck in response.
“Who knows? That’s the unknown,” Williams said. “On the flip side, if you open everything up, people are going to gather and do the mass gathering stuff. [If there is an increase in cases], is it because they’re not wearing masks or is it because they’re gathering? And more than likely the people that gather won’t wear a mask anyway.”
Lyon County Counselor Marc Goodman noted how the commissioners are in a difficult position because people will be upset with them no matter what decision they make
“It’s like you’re a sheepdog. … [If you] take the sheepdog and send him home, all the sheep walk around bleating, blaming you for what they don’t do or do do,” Goodman said.
Commissioners also expressed concern over the other consequences of the pandemic besides the consequences it has had for people’s health.
“I’m not trying to play like I’m the seer on a magical ball, but I’ve been arguing for a long time that the hidden effects economically, they’re out there, we just haven’t seen them but we’re starting to and that’s a problem,” Goodman said.”That’s a balance that you have to weigh.”
Peck shared a personal anecdote about how his wife has seen a 50% reduction in business as a result of the pandemic.
“It has had a severe economic impact,” Peck said.
The conversation was continued until Thursday morning’s regularly-scheduled action session at 9 a.m.