Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Car Show Controversy Unmasked at Council Meeting

Image from Screenshot of Red Horse Motoring Club Facebook page.
Saturday night's Red Horse Car Show on High Street attracted more than 600 vehicles and hundreds of visitors.

It's the kind of thing those looking to revitalize downtown Pottstown love to see.

Except for one thing.

There's a pandemic and hardly anyone was wearing a mask.

And some members of borough council are not too happy about that.

Saying "I hate to bring it up," Councilwoman Lisa Vanni noted that few of the hundreds of people at the
As is evident in this photo from the Red Horse 
Motoring Club's Facebook page, few of those
attending Saturday's car show wore masks.
car show wore the face masks mandated to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

It is the reason, she said, that she did not go. "I do not want to put my husband, and my parents, at risk," Vanni said.

And enforcing the mask mandate has become tricky business, legally and politically.

Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. said according to information provided by the Montgomery County district Attorney's office police are in a "precarious position" when it comes to enforcing the mandate, especially if the case goes to court.

Part of the reason for the confusion, said Borough Manager Justin Keller, is that Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine has said that if you are outside, with the people you live with, and are staying six feet apart, masks aren't necessary.

"But as soon as you come near someone, you are supposed to put your mask on. Everyone should be bringing their mask to the car show," said Keller. "A lot of people really don't understand fully."

"I understand, it's a choice, but they should know there are a lot of people who usually go to the car shows who are not because no one is wearing their mask," Vanni said.

"It's not a choice," retorted Mayor Stephanie Henrick, "I don't see how this is a choice. I'm 100 percent behind masks. I support the governor," said Henrick, adding that there are many Pottstown events she longer attends because of the number of people who do not wear the masks.

"I am not asking for anyone to be arrested, but maybe we should talk to the governor's office about levying fines," Henrick said.

Keller said the Montgomery County Health Department will soon be conducting spot checks on restaurants and bars to ensure that the rules for the green condition are being followed.

Garner noted that the state can revoke the license of a business that is not following the rules, but he noted council does have some leverage, even though Red Horse Motoring Club is not a business.

"You approve the use of High Street," Garner reminded council. 

"You can certainly set guidelines and rules for these events. If they don't follow the rules, the answer is not to approve the events," he said. 

"I don't want to be harsh but there has to be some degree of accountability," said Garner. Council, he said, can ask the club to enforce the rules, put up signs, or even escort those who refuse to wear masks from the show.

"We don't want to end up like Texas and Arizona," said Councilwoman Trenita Lindsay. "Wear the masks," said Councilman Donald Lebedynsky. "They're a temporary inconvenience," he said, adding it is a matter of public health and consideration for others at the show.

Keller said he would reach out to the car show organizers to discuss council's concerns.

An attempts by this blog to reach a Red Horse spokesperson Monday night through their Facebook page was unsuccessful.

Click here to see the Tweets from Monday night's borough council meeting.


  1. As much as I wanted to attend the car show, I had in the back of my mind that there would hardly be anyone wearing a mask. From the pictures, I was right. Are people embarrassed to wear them? I personally thought the riding up and down High Street was a great idea for the time we are going through. At least for now.

  2. I was at that event and i saw hundreds of people wearing masks. If council has no idea how the event went . people were keeping there distance. At any time I did not feel threatened. Come on people it was outside n we didnt have 300 people in a small space. I would attend it again.

  3. i went there with my daugther and we had fun please dont take people who want to have fun at a car show away it is outside we would attend it again

  4. It's not a LAW to wear a mask. Levying a fine or forcing someone to wear a mask is unconstitutional and harrassment. Start worrying about real criminals. The same hypocrites that don't want kids being bullied are doing exactly that to adults with the masks.

  5. I saw plenty of people wearing their mask's all night. it's outdoors and I don't believe you have to wear one. there is some personal choice involved here. the people around me who were not wearing a mask on Sat. night ,had a mask in there pocket or around their neck the whole time, myself included. Those complaining need to devote there time towards other real problems in and around Pottstown instead of trying to kill something that helps High Street small business.