Possible order to wear masks in Jefferson County touches firestorm of debate


HILLSBORO, MO – The health director in Jefferson County said personal attacks against were beginning to feel like threats.

She said she just wants to keep people healthy.

County health officials may require people to wear masks indoors at places like stores, restaurants, and businesses, and that is causing intense debate.

The issue was not on the agenda tonight for the council, it came for discussion anyway.

“I think everybody’s doing a great job and I back Kelley for what’s she’s doing,” said Buddy Russell, Hillsboro Mayor.

The Hillsboro mayor is talking about Kelley Vollmar. She’s the county health department director who’s feeling intimated by some of the 500 emails she’s received concerning the possibility of ordering people to wear masks in the county. Fox 2/News 11’s Dan Gray talked with her. Gray said, “Do you characterize these attacks as threats as this time? Vollmar answered, “It’s feeling like it I don’t want to encourage that.”

Jefferson County reported a record number of cases Saturday, 42 and another 31 since then.

Vollmar said the comments about a mask requirement to fight Covid-19 have gone beyond a vigorous debate. She says they’ve become personal. Vollmar added, “Letting know folks know where I live, letting folks know personal details about my life.” Mayor Russell said, “That is definitely crossing the line, that’s ridiculous. They shouldn’t be doing that she gives everything she has for the people to do that is wrong.”

Vollmar said her staff is contacting the sheriff about some of the e-mails. A spokesman for the sheriff said they will look into the matter.

While a decision for wearing masks inside restaurants and local county businesses is still up in the air, County Executive Dennis Gannon said people should expect to see masks worn by everyone soon in county government buildings.

“I have been working on a plan to include my coworkers and myself and anyone entering a public building to wear a mask,” said Gannon.

A woman who identified herself as Susan Davis, the newest health board member, said she read all the e-mails and did not see anything near threatening, and she’d like to see more information concerning hospitalizations in the county. People who are against a mask requirement declined to be interviewed after being contacted.

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