Both the Shelby County Commission and the Memphis City Council have debated whether the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be a recommendation or a mandate. While health department officials says that masks help minimize the spread of the virus, especially by those who may be infected, the issue recently has become politicized.
For many on the right, President Donald Trump's refusal to wear masks is seen as a statement that they are not necessary, though several White House staffers have tested positive for coronavirus. Across the country, the mask debate has led to sometimes violent confrontations. Political analyst Otis Sanford says that private businesses should do what the heath department has not -- insist that customers protect other customers by wearing facial coverings.