Better Wear Facemasks?

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On November 12, 2021 a specially called meeting of Tuscaloosa’s City Council was held. An event–the BWF Fall Event –which, according to Council President Kip Tyner, would be a “UA Greek event that was inadvertently left off last Tuesdays agenda.”

When asked, Antonius Mills, a Senior Revenue Officer with the city’s Revenue and Financial Services Division, didn’t know what BWF stood for or who the Greek organization that was holding the event would be. The information had not been listed on the application by Downtown Entertainment LLC. All that the department representative knew, when an inquiry had been made, was that the event would be a field party on Joe Mallisham Parkway hosted by a “University of Alabama fraternity.” During the party they have would have “certain times allotted for each class” and participants would be bused to the event. (The event actually would likely have been a sorority party. Sororities must hold any large party off-campus since their houses don’t have adequate facilities.)

An earlier attempt in August, 2021, to hold a party (Kappa Alpha Theta sorority’s “Back to School Party”) on the farmland located off of Mallisham Parkway had failed. Downtown Entertainment LLC had asked that the application for the special events license be withdrawn before the Council vote. An even earlier attempt (the Kappa Delta Farm Party) in November, 2020, had failed as well.

On November 10, 2021, Tuscaloosa‘s City Clerk sent a media meeting notice announcing the November 12, 2021, Special Called City Council meeting, including a council resolution.

Resolution put before the Council:

The Specially Called meeting had lasted only three minutes. Only four Council members had been present. ( Kip Tyner, John Faile, Norman Crow, and Matthew Wilson) Council President Tyner had asked if there were any statements from the members. “Anything going on this weekend you want to talk about?” Several had then answered, “Roll Tide.”

None of the Council members had asked what BWF stood for or which organization was sponsoring the event. The city’s Antonius Mills, with the city’s Accounting and Finance department, had initially presented information on the application. Only Brandon Hanks of Downtown Entertainment LLC had been questioned. Council President Kip Tyner had asked him if participants in the event would bused to the event. Hanks had answered that transportation would be on nine buses. Then Tyner had asked Hanks if he had been aware of the kickoff time of the Alabama football game. “Just a side note, what time on Saturday do you expect it?…eleven am kickoff…terrible.” He then had wished Hanks “best of luck.” The resolution had then been unanimously passed.

The University of Alabama on November 4, 2021, had updated its Campus Health and Safety guidelines. Masks would no longer be required to be worn by fully vaccinated individuals. However masks would still be required for all individuals on campus buses.*

The third time had turned out to be the “charm” for the field party. The cows had come home. (Whether any cows actually were grazing in the field, along with the herd of students at the party was actually uncertain.)

Whether masks would be required on the buses for the BWF Fall Event was not stipulated. BWF likely didn’t stand for Better Wear Facemasks. (Other BWF abbreviations include Bi-Sexual White Female and Band-Wagon Fan.)

* The scientific basis for the University’s decision on facemasks might have been considered dubious. The Lancet published an article about how vaccinated people can still spread the virus:

Vaccination reduces the risk of delta variant infection and accelerates viral clearance. Nonetheless, fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts. Host–virus interactions early in infection may shape the entire viral trajectory.

And the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had warned that in areas where there were low vaccination rates the wearing of masks was advisable:

Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, severe disease, and death is reduced for fully vaccinated people. However, since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19 infection. Fully vaccinated people who do become infected can transmit it to others. Therefore, fully vaccinated people can further reduce their risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 and transmitting it to others by wearing a mask indoors in public in areas of substantial or high community transmission.

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One thought on “Better Wear Facemasks?

  1. Perhaps the fact that Alabama had not been playing a highly ranked opponent would account for the empty seats in the student section at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 13, 2021. Of course, some students on Saturday may have had a party to go to.

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