Spring Hill city leaders voted unanimously this week to eliminate an ordinance restricting the use of masks during their bi-monthly voting meeting, allowing for residents to wear masks in public should they choose without any restrictions.
The ordinance, ordinance 11-804, has been a Spring Hill code for years and made the wearing of masks in public unlawful, save for a few exceptions. While almost never enforced, City Attorney Patrick Carter noted their to be a potential conflict with the First Amendment last summer, with the ordinance not making exceptions for facial coverings for religious or cultural purposes.
During the city's non-voting meeting on Jul. 6, Alderman Matt Fitterer proposed two options for city leaders to take to resolve the potential First Amendment issue.
The first was to expand the exemptions to the ordinance to include those wearing masks for religious or cultural purposes. The second, was to eliminate the ordinance entirely.
During that meeting, Alderman John Canepari expressed concerns over the ordinance's lack of exemptions for holidays like Halloween, with Alderman William Pomeroy expressing similar concerns.
Ultimately, with little discussion, the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to go with Fitterer's second option, to eliminate the ordinance in its entirety. Effective upon its final passing, Spring Hill residents are now permitted to wear masks in public without fear of being in violation of a city ordinance.