Are politics part of the reason the mask mandates are ending? – Fox 46 Charlotte

by: Derek Dellinger

Posted: / Updated:

CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — In March of 2020, there was a wide belief that the stay-at-home orders, along with mask mandates and social distancing, were due to public safety.

Nearly two years on, those restrictions—particularly the mask mandate—are now ending locally, and it has some wondering if now is the time, or if there was another reason for the end of the mandate.

Wednesday night at the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners meeting, residents claimed that county leaders were doing everything from exercising dictatorial power in the mandate, to playing politics due to midterm elections coming up later this year.

Commissioners roundly refuted those notions, but the perception is there. Eric Heberlig, a political science professor at UNC Charlotte, said politics is not entirely in play but it is a factor.

“They are reacting to voters, and they should. That’s their job,” he said, noting that the bases of both political parties have had diverging and changing notions of the pandemic.

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“The parties are reacting differently because their voters see the facts as differently,” Heberlig added.

Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to rescind the face-covering requirement in Mecklenburg County. Due to law, the public health order will officially take effect February 26, citing information from the county’s Health Director on changing guidance and figures,