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Resolution against COVID-19 mandates draws controversy in Piscataquis County

County commissioners demand an end to Governor Mills COVID-19 mandates
County commissioners demand an end to Governor Mills COVID-19 mandates
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 5:39 PM EST
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PISCATAQUIS COUNTY, Maine (WABI) -Piscataquis County Commissioners have written a resolution in protest of Governor Mills’ mandates to combat the pandemic (full text).

”Why are we doing this, why are we still locked down?” Asked commissioner James White.

The three commissioners laid out their grievances in a resolution submitted to Governor Janet Mills, demanding she lift mandates.

“It’s a two page document, there’s a lot of things in there but the long and short of it is we want representation in Augusta.”

Commissioner James White is concerned over increases in domestic violence, depression, and other potential consequences of continuing the mandates.

“There are lots of silent killers going on in this state right now.” said White. “The drug overdoses are at an all time high. The businesses are failing at record levels.”

Patrick Myers is the executive director of the Center Theatre in downtown Dover-Foxcroft. He says his business has been deeply impacted by the pandemic, but disagrees with the Commissioners approach.

“There are a lot of people and business hurting around here because of the virus, and so we need to be doing everything we can to stop the virus. We shouldn’t be trying to take a shortcut when that’s just going to cause us more harm.”

Commissioner White admits there has been pushback against the resolution. Opponents point to misinformation and other problems.

“The big one I’ve been hearing all morning is, you know, ‘how dare you say that mask wearing causes other issues.’”

CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah reacted sharply to that part of the resolution.

“Every single word in the sentence you just uttered is false. Indeed if it were true we would see widespread respiratory viruses and pneumonia in the millions of healthcare workers who wear face coverings every single day and we don’t.”

Myers expressed his disappointment too.

“It’s that sort of misinformation that I think we all should be doing everything we can to fight against and not see our public leaders spreading it.”

The commissioners do have the support of some community members and business owners, but not all of them.

“It would be nice if the county commissioners reflected that difference of opinion and didn’t speak for the whole county when people are so divided on the issue.” said Myers.

But the commissioners argument is similar - that Governor Mills is speaking for everyone, instead of giving them a voice.

“I can’t understand why any municipality or any body in this state wouldn’t desire to have their representation heard.” said White.

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