Since the Winfield face mask ordinance went into effect two weeks ago, Winfield police have focused on education over enforcement.

Although they could write a ticket to people not wearing masks, Capt. Chad Gordon with the Winfield Police Department said so far no officers have done so. Winfield Police Chief Robbie DeLong also said before the ordinance went into effect that the department would focus on educating the public.

The ordinance was approved unanimously by the Winfield City Commission on July 6 and went into effect July 10. It requires face masks in public spaces where social distancing is not possible. There are exemptions, including for people with medical conditions and children younger than five. Anyone violating the ordinance can be fined up to $25 for the first incident, up to $50 for the second, and up to $100 for the third.

Gordon said officers have received a few calls from the public about people not wearing masks. Officers sent on these calls tell people not wearing masks about the ordinance, he said, and have spare masks they can give away.

Gordon said police have not written any tickets yet, and this would only be done as an absolute last resort.

“We’re just out there to try and educate people,” he said.

Anyone who needs a mask, but doesn’t have one, can stop by the police department at 812 Millington St. or call them at 221-5556 and get one.

“We have some disposable masks we’d be more than happy to give out,” said Gordon.

Marla Sexson, co-owner of Snappy Chicks Boutique in Winfield, said there are no signs posted requiring masks, but around 99 percent of customers wear them. 

She always has hers on when other people are in the store. Sexson said she socially distances from the small percentage of shoppers who come in without a mask. Large crowds at the store are usually not an issue, she said.

“It’s up to them” on whether customers wear a mask, said Sexson.

The Winfield city commission will revisit the ordinance and decide whether to extend it or let it expire at their Aug. 13 meeting.

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(2) comments

Even though no tickets have been written it’s absurd that the police are even stopping people that are not wearing a mask! And people that are reporting them need to get a life! Our City Commission should have let the public decide instead of making the decision for them! Like one Ark City Commissioner stated the citizens should decide for themselves whether to wear a mask or not there adults! I guess our city fathers decided for us that we weren’t capable as adults to make that decision! I thought we lived in a democracy! I guess I was mistaken! Also the earth is round and the sky is falling!

MC Appleby

The enforcement of mask wearing IMO is a violation of all of our rights. Every person with illness from cold to cancer knows their responsibility. They take personal responsibility to family, friends and neighbors and so it is with masks. In the same breath I also think it is a business decision if they require masks. Think things through here, it depends on the business.

I don't cough on others and they are usually kind enough to not cough on me. Hope I don't catch this COVID thing, but sure hope someone ill with it, would be able to stay home, but if you have to go out with precautions it make make sense for you to wear a mask. I do trust my neighbors and know that making a mask a law is more political than science. Trade your freedoms at your peril. We bond through trust not mandates.

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