Monday, February 22, 2021
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The Villages

Let’s hope for a county mask mandate

Scott Fenstermaker

Sumter County is home to the world’s largest retirement community. Because of its elderly population, Sumter County is undoubtedly the Florida county that is most vulnerable with respect to the new wave of the COVID-19 virus. Fortunately, most residents are following the advice of the experts and wearing a mask in public places. Unfortunately, however, there are still a number of residents who are not– either because of ignorance or selfishness or both. These people are endangering not only themselves (which, frankly, doesn’t particularly bother me), but they are endangering everybody else as well (which does bother me).

This subject hits home for me since a neighbor and friend, who apparently was in good health, was just killed by the virus. In Sumter County, we recently elected a new slate of County Commissioners– the EMS team of Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search. They have pledged to represent the residents, and not special interests. I personally know all three of the team members, and I did what I could to help them get elected. They are good guys– smart, honest, intelligent, and experienced.

Gary Search, Craig Estep and Oren Miller, from left.

Here is hoping that the EMS team, who now constitute a majority of the commissioners, will have both the foresight and the political courage to confront the COVID-19 crisis by following the lead of a number of other Florida counties and enacting an ordinance mandating a mask for anyone in a public building or at a public gathering. Who knows, maybe the other two commissioners, who are generally described as “the Developer’s puppets,”,would support such an ordinance. After all, if The Villages becomes a COVID hotspot, it will put a crimp in the Developer’s sale of new houses.

In summary: Wearing a mask in public facilities is a small inconvenience when one considers the number of lives it will save. Unfortunately, not everyone is voluntarily doing it, and we apparently need legislation to address this fact.

Villager Scott Fenstermaker is a frequent contributor to

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