By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County commissioners reject staff request for employee mask policy

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As a mother of a child who cannot wear a mask, I appreciate the open discussion the commissioners had on the risks and why choice should be maintained.

I have friends with special needs children who cannot wear one, friends who were raped and domestic violence victims who have a huge phobia over masks and face coverings.

There are risks and with risks comes choices and respect to those that the ADA, CDC and Drs have clearly listed on use of masks.

For the record, both Commissioners Starrett and Olson opposed this and the reasons for opposing are not laid out in this article and that’s also disingenuous.


Motherof3- you realize that children under 12 are not required to wear masks. People with medical conditions that prohibit wearing a mask can receive an accommodation to enter businesses and public areas.....although it doesn’t seem like a great idea if you have underlying medical conditions......
The numbers keep rising.....wearing a mask, for the vast majority of people, is common sense to limit community spread....


i'm curious if masks work why did we release inmates using the excuse they could contract covid when they could have simply worn a mask?

Also Mr. Kulla chose not to use his mask while talking so am I to assume you can't spread or contract the virus while speaking?

Mr. Olsen chose not to wear a mask and then voted for everyone to wear a mask?


Masks don’t make you impervious to the virus ( surely you know that)....they reduce the spread of airborne virus.....they are one part of a social distancing plan


I read the article wrong Olsen voted with Starrett. I apologize to Mr. Olsen for the mistake.

Tagup: will masks help the spread of covid in the jail? Why aren't they mandated to wear them when non criminals are being forced to wear them?

If covid spreads through talking why did Mr. Kulla take his mask down to speak?


Maybe ( I wasn’t there) because he wanted to be understood while speaking and he was at a reasonable distance from others....?

David Bates

I wonder if it would be possible for all three commissioners to agree on approving a resolution simply encouraging people to take sensible precautions (like wearing a mask in public during a pandemic for the 15 minutes it takes to do a quick grocery store run)? This isn't just about laws and mandates. It's about leading, and setting a positive example during a time of crisis.


Motherof3-I wear a mask to protect your children. You’re welcome.


I am having difficulty understanding what is going on. COVID 19 is real. People are getting sick and dying. Unfortunately some people are turning this into a political issue. These people contend that the big bad government doesn’t have a right to mandate the wearing of masks. Perhaps. Perhaps not. In any event, wearing a mask is one thing we can do to mitigate the issue. Wearing a mask shows we care. (There are exemptions and that is reasonable.). It is disheartening that we have a county leader (soon to be two) that publicly says we do not have to follow state mandates. What the **** is going on? Lastly: are signs on the doors of businesses that say “No shirt, no shoes, no service” a law or a mandate? We all follow that one!

Willamina Willy

Still a circus..........can't we do better than this Yamhill County? Fact, there is a pandemic and it's as real as anything. Fact, masks - while not perfect - are a small thing each of us can do to help thwart the spread. Good night, get a grip and stop politicizing every single thing. Starrett needs to grow up. Scary thing is she's the liaison to Health and Human Services. I feel so sorry for Lindsay Manfrin trying to lead a department with Starrett peddling misinformation counter to what these HHS public servants are trying to accomplish.


I am very disappointed to see that Olson joined Sterrett on approving this measure and voting with her. I just loved it when she said that People and Employees are calling the OHSA about this and these communications are " annoying and time consuming".. Well, Mary I just joined those people and wrote to the " OHA" about this vote. I urged them to look at what is happening in Yamhill County and especially the Commissioners and this vote. I received a nice email back from them and they said that they are reviewing and discussing several notices from concerned Epmloyees and Citizens of Yamhill County. I think I will just refer to Sterret as our own County's " Karen"...


Baffling when educated will choose politics or opinion over science and fact. Even if they do not believe the science and there is even a small chance that insisting on a minor inconvenience of wearing masks will prevent illness and death for one person and preventing another shutdown what is the harm. I could say a seatbelt has never saved me and may never need to save me in an accident I am still going to wear it. And with masks it is not about protecting yourself but everyone you come in contact with.

I once heard a quote attributed to Einstein, not sure if it is true.

If you do not believe and God and He exists it would cost you a lot. If you believe in God and He does not exist it cost you nothing but having had piece of mind.


The fact that this issue is being politicized speaks volumes about those using outdated evidence to try to justify their stance that people, "should be able to make their own decision about wearing a mask." It is selfish behavior. When we are talking about a contagious illness community health needs to be considered along with individual health. If our elected leaders were promoting this behavior which, along with social distancing, monitoring one's health and washing hands frequently we likely could rely on people making good choices. Sadly, two commissioners who were arguing for choice were flagrantly breaking the law. There are exemptions based on age and documented health conditions. For others that find it uncomfortable due to asthma and/or anxiety there are effective strategies to overcome the discomfort that are also likely to serve them well in terms of their MH more generally. If altruism vs. egoism is breaking down on party lines it is clear that some simply care only about themselves.

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