Home News Students react to mask mandate in Rexburg

Students react to mask mandate in Rexburg

On Monday, the Eastern Idaho Public Health Department implemented a mask mandate in Madison County in an effort to lower local COVID-19 cases.

A previous Rexburg City Council meeting in July discussed the potential for a mask mandate which was ultimately voted against.

According to the health section of Axios, 34 states nationwide have a public mask mandate. Many BYU-Idaho students are coming from these states. Olivia Giles, a senior from studying elementary education, said that this mask mandate won’t be any different for her. In her state of Washington, all businesses require that you wear a mask upon entrance.

“It’s not anything different than I’ve known,” said Giles. “I’m kind of ready for things to go back to normal but, I’m not super angry about it or anything.”

Giles said she understands the concern the county might have with all of the students coming back to Rexburg from other parts of the country or world.

“They’re probably just taking extra precautions, at least at the beginning, for (the) first couple weeks or something,” Giles said. “I feel like it could help with hopefully slowing the spike that might come because students are new.”

Giles feels that a lot of the country has turned the coronavirus political, and because of that she thinks Idaho has been more lenient with restrictions.

Ethan Hodges, a sophomore studying software engineering, said that he thinks the mask mandate is just a new dress code people need to follow for now.

“It’s the same reason why you can’t go to Walmart without pants,” Hodges said. “It just kind of gets put in for the next couple months, a new thing to the dress code. You can’t go to Walmart without pants, you can’t go to Walmart without a mask.”

Landen Bodily, a sophomore studying political science, supports the mask mandate and thinks it should have happened a while ago. However, he also doesn’t think people will follow the mandate because they don’t care.

Bodily said the only thing that will really help combat the coronavirus completely would be to keep everyone in their homes. The second-best thing would be for everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing according to Bodily.

He believes it took Madison county as long as it did because of the small state status and the fact that Idaho is a more conservative state.

“I feel like a lot of people here have the ‘don’t tread on me,’ type of mentality, especially people in the government here,” Bodily said. “Just like having masks mandated seems like that should not be mandated or can’t legally be mandated. I think that’s why it didn’t really take here, and that combined places with smaller populations (being) less likely to get the coronavirus. Still, again, no one is immune to this.”

In his hometown of Great Falls, Montana, there is also a mask mandate.

Scroll found that there was not a significant number of people who actively opposed the mandate to the point of not wearing a mask.

Laura Spackman, a senior studying computer information technology is among the students against the mandate.

“I think is kind of ridiculous because Rexburg a few months ago, the City Council voted against (the) last mandate, and this massive mandate was out of the city’s control, it was basically by order of the governor,” said Spackman.

She said that there are many people who are choosing to not obey the mask mandate only because it’s mandated now. The only time Spackman wears a mask is at the doctor’s office. In Walmart, since the mandate began, Spackman said she hasn’t been asked to put a mask on when she enters.

Spackman said that she doesn’t think masks are effective and she said that the CDC has started questioning the effectiveness of masks. She thinks the best way to combat the coronavirus is to take precautions if needed but to “go back to normal.”

“I think people are just overreacting,” Spackman said.

Spackman believes the mask mandate is a violation of human rights.

“I think we as American citizens need to start thinking for ourselves and standing up for our rights, because our rights and liberties are being trampled over because people in power, want to stay in power,” Spackman said. “We need to remember that we the people have the power to take control of our government.”

Mark Angus, a sophomore studying psychology, said that compared to his home state of Colorado, Idaho is significantly less strict. He doesn’t think wearing a mask is a big deal.

“Put the mask on your face and move on,” said Angus.

Angus believes everyone in Idaho is more laid back about mask-wearing too.

“In Colorado, everyone’s super scared and doing it. And here, no one seems to really care,” Angus said.

Aside from trying to stay healthy and safe from the coronavirus, Angus thinks wearing the masks is a good way to show support.

“I think it just shows support for our local leaders and shows that we value the safety of others,” Angus said.

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