Council approves mask mandate

News

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Under a new set of guidelines by the city, people will now face a fine if they do not wear a mask.

The city council passed an ordinance 5 – 2 that makes wearing a mask mandatory in certain situations. A soaring COVID positivity rate, coupled with the likely potential to get worse as the winter holiday season approaches, pushed the council to pass this.

The ordinance would require everyone who lives in Decatur to wear a mask when around other people outside their homes. Examples include…

  • When shopping at stores
  • Picking up food from drive throughs or other restaurants
  • Traveling on public transportation
  • Visiting a healthcare provider
  • Interacting with people at work, places of worship, or any other collective activity

There are some exceptions to the mask ordinance…

  • Children under two and those with medical conditions
  • When eating or drinking in public
  • When doing physical activity where social distancing is possible like walking or running outside
  • When alone with people of the same household

The city would require businesses to monitor this and refuse service to people who violate the ordinance if they do not qualify for the exceptions. Police have also been charged with monitoring complaints of noncompliance.

Before ultimately passing the ordinance, council grappled with how this would affect people and businesses. Council Member Bill Faber said, “I believe people in our town with their own reasoning and common sense will work together hand in hand. For us to impose a mandate on our community is counterproductive because it’s just going to anger and alienate an important segment of our community.”

Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said, “We have to get our arms around this community and stop this virus. It’s out of control. Nobody has a magic fix. But what the health experts will tell you is you need to wear a mask. I know for some people it’s an imposition on their freedom and their rights. But it’s not about their rights.”

Council emphasized that through this ordinance they are seeking compliance more than fining people. But those who violate the ordinance will face a penalty.

For individuals found in noncompliance the fines are as follows…

  • First offense is $25
  • Second offense is $50
  • Third offense is $100
  • Fourth and all following offenses is $250

For businesses found in noncompliance the fines are as follows…

  • First offense is $50
  • Second offense is $100
  • Third offense is $200
  • Fourth and all following offenses is $500

This mandate will go into effect until further notice.

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