On Oct. 14, Governor Eric Holcomb extended the statewide mask order through Nov. 14, but he did not add any measures to enforce that order. The day before, the St. Joseph County Council decided to table an ordinance that would allow local enforcement of mask orders.
The ordinance that is in limbo would allow the St. Joseph County Health Department to fine businesses for violating its mask mandate. The Council tabled it for a month in order to question its legality.
District C Councilman Richard Pfeil said the council is asking Indiana’s attorney general to review the statute and provide an opinion.
“We want to spend some time getting that information back, and I think it’s appropriate to check out the legal side of the question for 30 days,” Pfeil said.
County Health Officer Bob Einterz first proposed the ordinance back in July. Since then, he’s amended it several times, including removing language that would allow individuals to be fined.
Einterz is concerned about the postponement in light of the region’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Bottom line is more people are going to die than should die, and it’s as a consequence of them tabling the order,” Einterz said.
The County Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month. The next chance for the ordinance to be reviewed is Tuesday, Nov. 10.
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