The Goshen Common Council passed an ordinance, on Monday, Dec. 7, allowing fines for businesses that fail to enforce COVID-19 prevention measures. The orders include a face mask requirement, with signs advising that they must be worn, and a requirement that events with more than 25 people in attendance have a safety plan approved by the health department. Repeat offenders could be fined $50 to $500, according to 95.3 MNC’s reporting partners at The Elkhart Truth.
The Elkhart City Council voted to table a proposed ordinance to help enforce a countywide mask mandate that fines businesses up to $5,000 for not cooperating. The city ordinance came up for its first reading at the city council meeting Monday night, but did not receive the unanimous support necessary to suspend council rules and come up for a vote in the same meeting.
“The county did it last week with little public input,” said Councilman-At Large Kevin Bullard. “Public input should be the starting point for these ordinances.”
Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson says this city ordinance is essential to getting the COVID outbreak under control in Elkhart County.
“It creates an umbrella where all of us are working together in enacting legislative measures to make sure there’s no overreach,” said Roberson.
Bullard and 2nd District Councilman Brian Thomas were the two ‘no’ votes that prevented the order from receiving a second and third reading and subsequent vote on Monday.
“It’s all about public input, getting them involved, letting them be more aware,” said Bullard. “We are in a pandemic crisis.”
Roberson says this measure needs to be voted on as soon as possible to give some relief to area hospitals.
“We are consistently working with very chronically to severely ill patients and the system is literally close to its breaking point,” said Roberson.
Bullard says more needs to be done to stop the spread, but fining business is not the correct way to go.
“I don’t agree with the fines. Hopefully with more education they won’t be necessary, but we definitely want to hear the public’s input on this ordinance.”
The ordinance will be brought up for its second reading at the December 21st council meeting.