McClendon asks businesses to encourage masks
West Memphis mayor concerned about COVID-19 surge
By JOHN RECH
West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon on Monday re-invoked a city ordinance and a resolution asking businesses to encourage customers to wear medical masks. He said the city had suffered through one pandemic lockdown and was already feeling and economic squeeze of the Interstate bridge closure. McClendon wanted to stave of the rising number and the financial and health impacts it could hold for the city. Arkansas Department of Health numbers indicated 99 active cases in the county on Monday. The mayor took a proactive stance in the face of rising active COVID-19 cases in the county during a Monday morning press conference.
“The numbers continue to rise enormously,” said Mc-Clendon. “It’s spreading fast here in Crittenden County. We need to take proactive measures to keep the people of our city safe. I want to work with local businesses and churches to get this message out.” McClendon pointed to a meeting scheduled with many pastors to spread the
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word for the importance of getting vaccinated and practicing personal pandemic protocols of social distancing, masking, and 20-second hand washing. The mayor who famously said ‘stay your ass home’ during the virus lockdown, asked citizens to refocus on preventative measures for the sake of both human and financial health in the city.
“West Memphis suffered a major economic impact and a health impact with the first wave of the COVID pandemic,” said McClendon. “Now on top of that our bridge closed. So those have been a major economic impact for the city of West Memphis. We need to prevent a second revival. Many people are carrying the virus but don’t know it.”
McClendon cited city ordinance 2225 and resolution 2222 passed by city council last year urging residents to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. His response fell short of a mandate, which by law only the state may issue.
“As mayor I’m am going to start to reinforce our ordinance in that is we are strongly urging people to wear their mask while they are in public,” said McClendon. “Use good judgment. Follow the CDC guidelines we know, social distancing, and washing your hands frequently for over 20 seconds. Do the things necessary, most importantly, if you are not vaccinated, please get vaccinated.”
The mayor addressed vaccine reluctance. “I can’t name anyone who died from the vaccine, but I can name people within this city that have died from the virus,” said McClendon. “I am not a health expert, but I am listening to those who are. A lot of people think the vaccination came so quick there wasn’t study to prove it year after year. I never saw what went into a hepatis shot or a flu shot, but we take them year after year.”
The mayor counted on businesses to help.
“Businesses have policies in place,” said McClendon. “If you are sick and can’t come to work, it hurt the business. Restaurants have done a great job. Continue to encourage people to wear masks when they come in. Encourage your people to get vaccinated. Bosch right now is doing a vaccination event. I hope every industry in the city follow suit.”
McClendon finally appealed to a COVID-19 variant of the Golden Rule.
“When you are around me, protect me, wear a mask,” said McClendon.