Businesses throughout St. Joseph County may soon have to be more vigilant about their customers and employees wearing masks while inside their establishments.
The St. Joseph County Council passed a few new provisions to the county’s mask mandate. One of those provisions now allows the county health department to start fining businesses where workers are seen not abiding by the mask mandate.
The council passed the provisions with input from the county health department.
“To change behavior, we need leadership,” said Dr. Robert Einterz, the St. Joseph County health officer. “What the council demonstrated was leadership. It is my hope and expectation that the council will follow their elected leaders.”
Some church leaders there had hoped for a religious exemption to be included in the update, but none was.
“I know there is going to be a lot of mixed reactions, and I understand that,” said Councilor Rafael Morton. “I just hope moving forward that people will abide by the ordinance, and we will take this thing moving forward day-to-day because it is an extremely serious and contentious issue.”
The updated mandate is not in effect just yet. It still needs approval from St. Joseph County commissioners. The mandate would include all the metro areas of South Bend, Granger, and Mishawaka.