Masks in Benicia – now a political decision rather than a health emergency

By Roger Straw, August 18, 2021

At its meeting last night, the Benicia City Council debated and approved a proposal to hold a special meeting next week to consider instituting a Citywide indoor mask mandate.

The meeting will be held next Tuesday, August 24 at 6pm.  Here’s the Agenda.

Some observers at yesterday’s meeting felt that Council members Trevor Macenski and Lionel Largaespada indicated likely opposition for the measure.  They have invited Solano County Health Officer Bela Matyas to attend next week.  Matyas is the ONLY county health officer in the Bay Area who has not instituted masking requirements to head off the spread of the Delta variant.  His presence next week will no doubt muddy the waters.

We can only hope that Council will get the required three votes.  It’s so sad that face coverings have become a political issue here in Benicia and Solano County.  We remember fondly how in March of 2020 our previous City Manager and City Council took charge and declared emergency action in the absence of leadership from the County.

Video of the August 17 City Council discussion and Public Comments on the mask mandate

NOTE: the Council discussion, public comments and action on the issue takes just under an hour, beginning at 1:37:53.  Public comments begin at 2:02:30.  Final discussion by Council begins at 2:23, and ends with the unanimous vote at 2:30:50.  (From there if you’re interested, the Council discusses COVID protocol for reopening the Council Chambers.)  And… if the above video does not work for you, you can click here to go to the City website to view the video clip on the mask mandate.