Bethel City Council Instates Universal Mask Mandate
During their Aug. 10 meeting, Bethel City Council voted to implement a new universal mask mandate. The mandate requires everyone in a public, indoor setting to wear a mask. This is a change from the former mandate, which held that only unvaccinated people had to wear masks.
Bethel City Council also voted to extend water service for those who can’t pay their bills, although council members discussed amending the ordinance during a future meeting. That was after hearing from the city manager that the collective debt had grown to more than $180,000.
Council also extended the city’s COVID-19 quarantine and testing mandate. The mandate holds that unvaccinated visitors to Bethel must either provide a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. Previously, the measure said that anyone under 10 years of age was exempt from the rules. The council amended the ordinance, and now only those under the age of 2 are exempt.
City council also unanimously voted to postpone a measure that would bring new guidelines to bed and breakfasts in residentially zoned areas. The move to postpone came after council rejected an amendment to the ordinance. The proposed ordinance said that bed and breakfasts in residential neighborhoods must be owner-occupied and would be limited to only three guest bedrooms. The ordinance would give existing bed and breakfasts one year to come into compliance. The rejected amendment, instead of giving a year to come into compliance, would have grandfathered in five of the existing bed and breakfasts.
The amendment did not carry in a tight 3-3 vote. The council has seven members; one councilmember, Perry Barr, did not attend last night’s meeting.