Local physician creates petition to enforce wearing masks while out in public

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A local physician is planning to send a petition with more than 1,200 signatures to Amarillo’s Mayor and City Council.

During this week’s city COVID-19 update, a petition was presented by Amarillo’s Public Health Authority, Dr. Scott Milton.

Dr. Dan Hendrick, a local nephrologist, created this petition last week. This petition encourages local government to adopt an ordinance to enforce Governor Abbott’s Executive Order, regarding masks.

“We as a community need to do the right thing. Either with an ordinance or without an ordinance, we need to wear masks in public. God told us that we are to love our neighbor. Wearing a mask to protect our neighbor is just part of that,” said Dr. Hendrick.

After speaking to colleagues, Dr. Hendrick said many physicians and nurses have voiced frustration when they go into public places where people are not wearing masks.

He explained, “So frustration is what we have. You know I enjoy taking care of patients, I like to see patients do well, but increasingly, over the past week or so, we have not been able to obtain hospital beds for patients that need to be taken care of.”

Two other local doctors agree that the order needs to be enforced.

Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, Infectious Disease Specialist, stated “We need to be able to encourage people even more to be even more proactive to try to contain this very severe outbreak that is wreaking havoc on our health care system and economy.”

Some have said being forced to wear a mask is an invasion of personal liberties. However, Dr. Whit Walker, an Internal Medicine Doctor, explained this affects more than just oneself.

“If I’m a motorcycle rider, I take my helmet off, I’m not posing a threat to somebody else. If I take my seatbelt off, I’m not posing a threat to somebody else. If I get this virus though, and cough without a mask, I’m posing the virus to other people. That’s why it’s a public health issue and not a personal civil liberty issue,” stated Dr. Walker.

The doctors agree that a future shutdown is not necessary if everyone will wear a mask. However, they did say it is time to realize how serious this is.

Dr. Walker continued, “I promise, this is not Chicken Little the sky is falling. This is a real problem. Patients are really dying. The morgues are really full. We really do have refrigerator trucks full of bodies. This is not good.”

Tomorrow Dr. Hendrick will be emailing Mayor Ginger Nelson and the Amarillo City Council members the list of signatures before their meeting at 3 p.m.

Additionally, Dr. Hendrick also shared that the Potter-Randall County Medical Society Board of Directors mailed Mayor Nelson a letter of support for a resolution of mask laws.

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