Mayor’s mask order roils Jacksonville City Councilman
Jacksonville City Councilman Danny Becton. Image via AG Gancarski

Danny Becton
Mask-gate 2020 continues.

Beset by spiking COVID-19 positive tests and pressure on hospitals, Jacksonville issued a mandatory mask order for public indoor establishments on Monday.

Over 48 hours after the order was first broached in the host city for the 2020 Republican National Convention, Mayor Lenny Curry briefed the City Council Wednesday afternoon.

With just 15% of ICU beds open in Duval County, and a 4% capacity at the city’s only safety-net hospital, the situation compelled action.

Curry expressed confidence in hospital capacity, then touched on the mask order before jumping off the call, noting his “long record in this city of encouraging people to wear their masks, and now it’s mandatory.”

Staff also addressed the mask order, experiencing some push back from certain members of the Council. One in particular offered a challenge to conventional wisdom on fighting the coronavirus.

After Chief Administrative Officer Brian Hughes said there was “benefit to wearing a mask,” Republican Council member Danny Becton peppered Hughes with questions about how many people were “sick” with COVID-19 and how many had died in the last 30 days from the coronavirus.

“This is huge government overreach … for 99% of our population … doing the smart things and being illness free like we do, 365 days a year. I’m just not on the bandwagon,” Becton said.

“When I do talk to constituents out there … as we single out this illness, a lot of people have concerns how this may relate to illness that may have comparable numbers.

“We talk about the flu. How come we don’t hear comparisons,” Becton said, noting “fractions of a percent” differences between the two.

Becton bemoaned the health care professionals, who “haven’t had forecasts that have been correct or close to correct,” continuing to wonder what good wearing a mask would be for him.

“To me, it’s common sense that a mask can actually hurt you,” Becton said. “99.something% of the people walking around are actually being hurt by wearing a mask.”

Hughes went on to defend the mask order, noting that when rolling averages of positive tests reached 6%, action was mandated.

Other Council members backed the order, but for Becton, who lost the race for the City Council Presidency by a 16-3 vote a few weeks back, there seemed to be incentive to take a contrarian view.

Council President Tommy Hazouri, a Democrat, said the next 30 days would tell the tale, including for the health restrictions potentially imposed on the Republican National Convention.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


11 comments

  • Frankie M.

    July 1, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Stop burying the lede AG! Did you find out what bunker Lenny is hiding under?

    As far as Councilman Mouthbreather goes I smell a plant. CPT Obvious DOES NOT HAVE TO WEAR A MASK although it would only be an improvement to his face. It’s not like this mandatory mask order is enforceable so go do what you want Devil’s advocate. Nothing has changed. There’s more enforcement of jaywalking in Jax than there is for this mask order. But since Becton is white he doesn’t have to worry about jaywalking without a mask…lmao. Much ado about nuthin if you ask me.

    But the best thing about this voluntary/mandatory mask order is I get to walk into all those restaurants & public places (where customers and staff didn’t wear masks just days ago) and roll my eyes at those people who aren’t wearing masks the same way they rolled their eyes at me for wearing a mask last week. Payback is a bitch. #fnpriceless

    • David Hurley

      July 3, 2020 at 11:30 am

      The amendment to the Constitution for pandemic response makes this enforceable.

  • Pat

    July 1, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    This Becton guy: what in God’ name makes him believe his opinion outweighs SCIENCE???
    People like this need to be voted out, I do not care what political party they claim. Oh, wait… He WAS voted out. Good. He had no business being in a position to (allegedly) represent the public, anyway.

    • Al Diamond

      July 1, 2020 at 8:19 pm

      Meanwhile the rest of the
      City is shocked that Becton found two people foolish enough to vote for him for Council President.

  • By A Citizen

    July 2, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Moat Jackstonians are as mean and ignorant as the rest of the populace represented by their political appointees. Any measure imposed by the Mayor is unconstitutional as it regards civil liberties. Why is there nothing being said regarding the release of 5G radiation emitting towers installed throughout the regions while we were unlawfully kept off streets?
    Politics is about money. Whatvhappen to the 1.whatever billion dollars of J.E.A. investigation???

    • David Hurley

      July 3, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Yikes, QAnon idiocy…not conducive to reasonable thought..

  • K.M.ASS

    July 2, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    STOP STOP STOP NO WONDER IF THE COMMENTS ABOVE ARE ANY REFLECTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IT HAS A FAMILIAR TONE I.E. THE P.O.S. IN THE WHITE HOUSE INCLUDING THE FLORIDA GOVERNOR…JUST STOP ALL THIS B.S. THIS VIRUS COULD CARE LESS WHAT POLITICAL GROUP ANYONE BELONGS TO SO PLEASE PLEASE JUST STOP ALL THIS CRAP, QUIT WASTING TIME THERE ARE PEOPLE DYING UNDERSTAND…DO YOU UNDERSTAND PEOPLE ARE DYING, SO SHUT IT ALL DOWN AND GET OFF YOUR ASS AND MAKE THE WEARING OF MASK MADATORY, FINE THE IDIOTS THAT WON’T COMPLY AND DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO ENSURE THAT THE NEXT PERSON THAT DIES MIGHT BE YOUR FATHER OR MOTHER OR YOUR SPOUSE, HOW ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN WHICH ONE OF THE ABOVE ARE YOU OK WITH THEM DYING…DO THE RIGHT THING AND WHEN YOU HAVE TO IGNORE THAT SUCKING UP TO TRUMP GOVERNOR WE CURRENTLY HAVE, AND TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE YOU REPRESENT! REMEMBER THE NEXT PERSON THAT CATCHES COVID-19 AND DIES MIGHT BE YOU!!!

    • K.M.ASS

      July 2, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON.

  • K.M.ASS

    July 2, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON.

  • Live Free or Die

    July 2, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Mr. Becton makes sense, he knows, and alot of us know that is all political. The economy is coming back, but, the Democrats/liberals will do anything to try to get no brains Biden elected. This is all they have, shut the economy down. This virus crap is all blown out of proportion, leave us alone/our freedoms.

    • David Hurley

      July 3, 2020 at 11:28 am

      The amendments made to the constitution fully allow mandating protections regarding pandemics. Just for stupid reactions like these.

Comments are closed.


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