Opinions are split on the idea of mandated masks in the city of Killeen and Bell County.
Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra said on Monday that he is in favor of mandating that people wear masks in public, and he will order it mandatory for Killeen on Wednesday if Bell County does not issue a similar order first.
“Whatever preventative measures we can take to help prevent the spread (of the coronavirus) I think is a good thing,” Segarra said.
Killeen resident Alia Ouali, 36, has been here for almost two years. She is in favor of requiring masks.
“I definitely support that position if he (Segarra) is going to mandate. Preventive measures like wearing the mask will do us good. Businesses can reopen. If they want to mandate wearing a mask in crowded public places they need to do it now,” Ouali said. “If we do our part, if the masks are mandated, we could stop this disease from spreading.”
Local businessman Eric Dominowski, said he feels the opposite about mandating masks.
“I think it should be left up to the individual and not mandated one way or the other,” said Dominowski, owner of Simply Sold Marketing, an aerial photography company in Killeen, and a local Realtor. “I don’t have a problem with someone wanting to wear a mask or stay home but at the same time they should respect those that don’t want to wear a mask. We’re not telling people to take off a mask before they come into our business.”
Ray Johnson, 80, a retired Harker Heights pediatrician, said he hasn’t left his house much since the pandemic hit the area in March. But when he does go out, he puts on a mask.
“Masks are part of the protection,” he said, adding “good hand washing” is also very important.
When an infected person is masked, they are breathing back in any contagions, said the retired doctor.
“It’s not to protect you. It’s to protect other people,” Johnson said.
When the Herald broke the news about Segarra’s comments on masks on Monday, the story was posted to Facebook. As of 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, the post has nearly 800 shares and over 300 comments.
Some of the comments are in favor of the mandate and some are against it.
One of the comments, from MzBella Sun, said, “Good deal!!!! Make it mandatory for all including kids.”
Another comment, from Paul Watson, said, “I’m not wearing one. Government has so much power they don’t even want you breathing the air without permission.”
In a poll the Herald posted to Facebook Tuesday morning asking if viewers were in favor of the mayor making maskes mandatory, there were 390 total votes and the poll was split 50/50 with 195 votes for yes and 195 votes for no by 6 p.m. Tuesday.