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Greenbrier County Commission votes to end indoor mask mandate

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — The Greenbrier County Commission has voted to end the county’s indoor mask mandate citing a “significant” drop in active COVID-19 cases.

Lowell Rose

Commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting voted unanimously to lift the mandate put in place last month by the Greenbrier County Board of Health.

The commission had 30 days to consider whether to extend or remove the mask requirement.

Greenbrier was the only county in West Virginia to issue an indoor mask mandate in any building open to the public regardless of vaccination status.

Commission President Lowell Rose said, as of Monday, the the county had 146 active cases, which is down from a spike of 403.

“We made it over the hump and it’s dropped considerably,” Rose said before the vote.

The motion to end the mandate was made by Commissioner Michael McClung.

“It seems to be that at gatherings that I’ve been to, wearing of the mask is hugely unpopular with the people of Greenbrier County,” McClung said. “I would be happy to make that motion to lift that mandate.”

There are currently seven people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county.

A new state law gives county commissions veto power over health department decisions.

“The health department board was in their rights to do the mandate,” Rose said. “If it’s a health emergency within the county, they can do the mandate and put it into effect and then we have 30 days to take it up.”

Rose said they knew the numbers would eventually come down; however, it’s unclear what impact the wearing of masks had on slowing the spread of the virus.

“I’m sure the mask mandate didn’t hurt as far as the numbers, but we had no way of tracking that,” he said.

As of Tuesday, Greenbrier County remained in the Orange Tier on the state Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 County Alert Map.

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