Where it's not OK to smoke: Mount Shasta to install more signage

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald
No smoking sign

Mount Shasta City Councilors voted Monday evening to install additional non-smoking signs on Chestnut Street and Mount Shasta Blvd. 

At their regular meeting, councilors also discussed the importance of wearing masks to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the city and the county. A second COVID-19 death was reported in Siskiyou County Monday afternoon. There were 131 active cases on Monday, nine of which were hospitalized. 

During staff comment, City Manager Bruce Pope and council member Jeffery Collings noted that while mask wearing may be uncomfortable for some, it is necessary to stop essential businesses from closing down again.

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"In two or three weeks we have gone from yellow to purple, which is wide spread closures," said Collings. "We are the people in charge of this because we are either going to take precautions like wearing masks or not, and when we don't, all businesses in shut-down mode will suffer."

Both agreed that wearing masks and keeping up with Public Health Department recommendations will assist in the city's participation of halting the spread of the virus.

Non-smoking signage

After staff comment, a formerly tabled item regarding non-smoking signage was brought forth to councilors, this time to vote on proposed project funds for the signs.

At a previous meeting, a slew of concerned citizens spoke out in support of adding additional signage to assist those who are new to the area or visiting. Concerns of second hand smoke, cigarette litter, and safety around areas where propane tanks were housed were addressed. At that meeting, councilor John Redmond suggested that businesses should decide where their patrons could smoke, which was not well received by the public commenters. Other concerns from councilors included the cost, location, and concerns of littering the streets with unnecessary signage.

The new project, which is estimated to take a limited amount of time to finalize, would include members of the Public Works department installing extra signage on Chestnut Street and Mount Shasta Boulevard. Currently, there are signs posted on Alma Street and throughout the main portion of downtown Mt. Shasta Blvd. and Lake Street.

Councilors had mixed opinions on the signs.

"We have signs already being ignored ... it's a waste of time," said Redmond. "Businesses deciding for themselves is not thought of by too many people."

Council member Barbara Wagner had concerns about the cost of the project, and what effect it would have on the overall budget. Previously, grants were considered for the project, but according to City Manager Bruce Pope, "that has never come to fruition."

Collings and mayor pro-tem Paul Engstrom were in favor of giving the public what they initially wanted. "I know when this was first brought up we had a log full of almost 80 people in favor of this, and it was a big deal to them," said Engstrom. "We need to go ahead... I think we have to honor what those citizens wanted that day."

There were no public commenters present at Monday's meeting to say whether or not they still desired the signage.

At the end of discussion, Engstrom moved to approve the project, with Collings seconding the motion. The vote passed 3-2, with Redmond and Wagner casting "no" votes.