Elkhart Co. Commissioners Pass COVID Fines In "Last-Ditch Effort" To Enforce Public Health Order

Dec 1, 2020

Not posting signs requiring face coverings could soon result in a $50 fine in Elkhart County.
Credit Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

The Elkhart County Board of Commissioners has passed an ordinance that allows fines for entities that repeatedly violate the health department’s COVID-19 order.

The fines will be the second step in the enforcement procedure laid out in the ordinance. The first step is a warning, followed by an education effort.

Then, fines can be issued per violation – not posting signs that announce a face-covering requirement, for example, means a $50 fine, while failing to maintain social distancing will cost $250.

Fines won’t exceed $2,500 dollars on the first violation, but subsequent violations can total up to $5,000.

County Commissioner Suzie Weirick said the decision isn’t one the commissioners took lightly. But, if they didn’t do something, she said community health would continue to suffer.

“Cancer treatments, cardiology treatments all of those kinds of things are being set aside," Weirick said. "We need to do something to reinforce the need for vigilance and COVID protocols.”

Commissioner Mike Yoder said this the commission’s “last-ditch effort” to get the community to adopt those protocols.

“After literally – literally – months of education efforts, months of pleading, I don’t know what else we can do to share with members of the community that this is not a hoax,” he said.

The order will take effect on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo

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