As a citizen of Ocala, I am appalled that our City Council members did not unanimously vote for mandatory masks in a city where we are seeing rises in cases and deaths every day. Ocala is ranked 10th in the nation as highest death rate per capita.
Our City Council is elected to keep Ocala citizens safe, not to attach themselves to one party in a time of a pandemic and ignore what is best for our community. We are seeing businesses close and, for me, I do not feel safe. Therefore, I am not venturing out to places of business because many are not wearing a mask to keep me safe.
This current policy will cause our county’s and city’s economy to see another major recession because many in this community see the repercussions of what this deadly pandemic is doing as our political leaders ignore our local and national doctors and immunologists.
Florida has the highest rate of cases now in the world. Florida alone has 33,000 cases and almost 6,000 deaths. Ocala has 3,426 cases and 49 deaths … and rising. Our elected officials are not working to make our city safe. I find this irresponsible and sadly, too political. The time has come to put individual politics aside and do what is right for all citizens. Ocala has many senior 55-plus communities and sadly, this will send out a negative signal to not move here because our city is ignoring what is happening in the world. Additionally, our children are at risk as well as all adults who work in stores to feed us and serve us during this dangerous and deadly time. Publix alone reported six cases this past week because they did not mandate masks until last Tuesday.
I hope the two City Council members, Brent Malever and Jay Musleh, who did not vote for a mandatory mask policy will change their mind before we see even more deaths in our city.