On a 3-2 vote, the Harrison County Health Department’s Board of Directors rescinded the mask order that had been created and due to begin on Thursday at a special meeting that included a public hearing held by the board at the Bethany Community Gym on Wednesday evening.

The Board of Directors held the public meeting after receiving requests by the public regarding the establishment of a mask order that would have required anyone age 2 years or older to wear a mask in public and would require businesses to provide signage of the mask order.

During the public hearing, input was provided that challenged the mask order for schools. Opinions challenging the mask order in schools pointed toward the affect that wearing a mask has physically and emotionally on a child. There were also concerns regarding the mental health issues that may be caused with such a mask order. There were also challenges regarding the effectiveness that a mask has on preventing the spread of COVID-19. Proper maintenance issues for wearing a mask and enforcement concerns of such an order were also brought up during the public hearing.

Harrison County Community Hospital CEO Tina Gillespie quoted some rising positivity rates realized in November and in the past week in her message to provide health care workers consideration at this time.

The great majority of those speaking were opposed to the mask order. The Health Department’s Board of Directors made their 3-2 vote to rescind the order following the public hearing that was attending by a little over 100 people.