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‘No mask, no service’: Mayor gives mask advisory to community

By Staff | May 15, 2020

Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer asks community members to continue wearing masks as social distancing restrictions decrease. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — At the end of presenting his monthly mayor’s report during the town council meeting on Tuesday night, Mayor Jim Auxer thanked community members for their patience in following the governor’s social distancing order. He also thanked groups, like Shepherdstown Shares, for their work in connecting community members in need over the past couple of months.

However, Auxer expressed his frustration with Gov. Jim Justice’s news conference earlier that morning, because it did not include any clarification for how Jefferson County should operate as a “hot spot” for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you listen to the governor’s news conferences, you’ll understand why we find them so confusing,” Auxer said. “We have not received any information from the governor up to now. We’ve talked to the county — the governor’s office has provided no information regarding hot spots. So we’re all in limbo regarding what that means. It’s really frustrating to have to tell you that.”

Auxer said he is currently working 10-12 hours a day, as the number of meetings he must now attend have increased, along with the related information dissemination. Some of the meetings have been related to three committees which he has recently joined, to help determine how county residents should navigate current and future issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are a few people on the Shepherdstown Reopening Task Force, maybe up to 10 now. We’re working steadfastly to work towards the reopening of Shepherdstown,” Auxer said of the first committee, founded by Shepherdstown resident Steve Pearson.

“A few things that I would like to say regarding the reopening — this is from the mayor and town council. Please mask up! We’re responsible for the health of everybody else. So please when you’re out in the community, wear a mask,” Auxer said of the mask advisory. “Businesses are starting to open. They are asking the community to follow the mandates they have. Just like they have had the ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’ rule in the past, they may have a ‘no mask, no service’ rule — that will be up to them individually.”

According to Auxer, violators of this rule in local businesses may be forced to exit the business premises.

The second group Auxer is a member of is a Jefferson County task force.

“What we’re doing on the county task force – we had a meeting today with the mayors and the health department and county administration, and we’re trying to reach some consensus for when we’re opening back up. Our goal is to be on the same page,” Auxer said, mentioning this even pertained to playgrounds. “One thing we decided in the county in every municipality, is that we are not going to use the playground equipment. There’s no way we can all clean off playground equipment after each use.”

The third committee Auxer is working with is the Great Jefferson County Long-term Recovery Committee, founded by Senator John Unger. While it’s still in the beginning stages, Auxer said it would be necessary as the long-term effects of the pandemic are unknown.

“There are committees to deal with short-term recovery, but the plan for this committee is to help provide plans for long-term recovery of the county,” Auxer said.

For information about COVID-19 testing, call Town Hall at 304-876-2312 or the Jefferson County Health Department at 304-728-8416.

“We’ll help you get through this,” Auxer said. “We all want to get back to normal.”