Androscoggin county commissioners will consider at a Wednesday meeting a resolution to allow residents and visitors not to wear masks.
The resolution, if passed, would violate Gov. Janet Mills’ mandate set in December that requires masks — which help curb the spread of the coronavirus — to be worn in all public indoor spaces.
Introduced by Commissioner Isaiah Lary of Wales, the resolution states that Mill’s executive orders “restrict the liberty of Maine citizens to dress, work, exercise their religion, assemble, shop and conduct lives as they choose.”
The resolution also states that Mills overstepped her authority and violated the Maine Constitution while also disputing that masks prevent the spread of COVID-19, stating there is “scant scientific evidence to date” about their effectiveness.
However, the use of masks or cloth face coverings has been shown to control the spread of the virus, and the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been advocating for widespread use of masks since July.
The Androscoggin commissioners are not the first to consider or adopt an anti-COVID resolution.
The Piscataquis County commissioners adopted a COVID-19 measure in secret early last month. The resolution contained numerous falsehoods — among them that face coverings cause pneumonia and respiratory disease — and said Mills’ measures have failed to stop COVID-19’s spread while harming the state’s economy.
As of Wednesday, the Maine CDC has reported 4,378 cases and 55 deaths in Androscoggin County since the pandemic reached Maine last March. The county also has the second highest total case rate statewide with 406.38 cases per 10,000 residents.