Almost every day there are new social media posts showing anti-maskers vehemently refusing to comply with public safety measures intended to control spread of the coronavirus. Retail store employees have been assaulted, restaurant workers challenged and coughed on and government leaders threatened.
Yesterday the threats against Dodge City, Kan., Mayor Joyce Warshaw for her support of the city’s mask mandate became so intense she resigned her position. Warshaw, a Republican who has led the city since 2015, said she was fearful for her safety after receiving threatening messages via phone and email. The city’s commissioners voted 4-1 on Nov. 16 to impose a mask mandate after COVID-19 cases spiked.
Threats against Warshaw intensified after she was quoted in a Dec. 11 article in USA Today. Of the mask mandate she had said, “We just felt like we had to do something so everybody was aware of how important it was for everybody to be responsible for each other’s health and well-being.”
In announcing her resignation Warshaw said, “I understand people are under a lot of pressure from various things that are happening around society like the pandemic, the politics, the economy, so on and so forth, but I also believe that during these times people are acting not as they normally would. I think it’s best for me and the city that I love to remove myself from the commission at this time and from the mayorship so that the city can move forward and be the best that it can be because I believe in the city.” She added that she has no regrets for having supported the mandate.
Dodge City is located in Ford County, Kansas. According to the state health department, out of a population of 33,600 it has recorded 4,914 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. That amounts to one out of every 10 residents.