Editor’s note: Hailey Mayor Martha Burke opened Monday’s City Council meeting with a statement that all councilmembers would be wearing masks throughout the session, removing them only to speak. Councilman Juan Martinez did not wear a mask. Here, he explains why.

Ican feel part of our community losing faith in their representatives because their arguments are not being talked about in a way that is legitimate. I sympathize with those people who have made drastic life changes in the name of health and wellness. I feel very capable of fighting off illness, and I use a combination of natural medicine and organic foods to keep my immune system in top shape. I think with a proper study, we may find that something really special happened here in the name of human evolution and immunity.

For now, a lot of us aren’t sure who or what to believe and so we bring it back to our own decision-making process. My process has always been to cherish anyone brave enough to participate, but to especially listen to those who are not being considered legitimately. Where I stand: if you could prevent yourself from getting sick, you would. Wearing a mask helps to limit your exposure to airborne illnesses and disease. It is useful in this case (airborne global pandemic) to wear a mask if your goal is to prevent yourself from getting sick. Where things turn is when people forget that humans will always carry illnesses. To our planet, we are the illness that destroys things—things that are healthy. Humans will always be spreading illness just the same as any animal does. Anyone could become sick from interacting with someone else at any moment in human history.

Juan Martinez

Mask mandates will not stop humans from spreading sickness. They are effective in covering your mouth, and so it’s reasonable to think that it will mitigate your exposure to airborne illnesses. However, a mask mandate puts businesses on fair grounds. Everyone has to adapt at the same time. Consumers make choices based off the products available.

As far as businesses go, I don’t want to see businesses fail. I feel bad for people that lose, generally. I don’t want people to stop going to a store because they don’t feel safe from other people. I don’t want people to stop going to a store because they disagree with a mask policy. As an elected representative, I would rather have the voices of frustration pointed at me rather than these business owners. A safe experience is something that cities should be providing.

Juan Martinez was elected as a Hailey city councilman in November 2019.

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