by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
Sanibel City Council granted authorization Tuesday to City Manager Dana Souza to establish or lift a mask mandate within city-owned buildings, which includes City Hall and Sanibel Recreation Center. The move was to allow for quick action to protect city employees and residents in this fluid situation.
“Things are going to fluctuate,” said Councilman John Henshaw. “We can’t wait 30 days to the next (council) meeting to make a decision. I would rather leave that decision in the hands of capable city staff.”
Souza’s decision will be based on data from the Center for Disease Control and its established methodology for determining “thresholds for community transmission levels” of COVID-19. The CDC’s case rate metric has four categories:
Low Transmission Threshold: Fewer than 10 total cases per 100,000 population or a less than 5 percent positivity rate in a seven-day period.
Moderate Transmission Threshold: 10 to 49 cases per 100,000 population or a 5 to 7.99 percent positivity rate in a seven-day period.
Substantial Transmission Threshold: 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 population or a positivity rate of 8 to 9.99 percent in a seven-day period.
High Transmission Threshold: 100 or more cases per 100,000 population or a positivity rate of 10 percent or more in a seven-day period.
The mask mandate within city-owned buildings will be put in place if Lee County is in the substantial transmission category and lifted if the county is in the low to moderate categories. Souza said the mandate would be instituted if the county hits the 50 cases threshold.
Councilman Scot Crater made a second motion to require unvaccinated city employees to wear a mask, when not alone in an office, while inside city-owned buildings. It was also passed by council.