City temporarily removes agenda item requiring face coverings including $250 fine for violations
Since the Decatur City Council agenda was published on Thursday afternoon, members of the Decatur City Council have heard from dozens of citizens all strongly opposed to a city ordinance that would fine individuals a minimum of $250 (and/or be subject to other remedies) that failed to wear protective face coverings when they leave their home or report to work. I want to thank the citizens who contacted me and expressed their concerns. I will continue to express my opposition when this ordinance is revisited.
I HAD MANY CONCERNS WITH THE PROPOSED CITY ORDINANCE INCLUDING LARGE FINES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE
The State of Illinois has already issued guidelines for the use of face coverings and it is not clear why the city needs this ordinance. My concerns with the ordinance include large fines, lack of a defined end date, arbitrary guidelines for enforcement, putting police officers in an untenable position, and how the ordinance might impact small businesses and their customers.
RATHER THAN IMPOSING FINES, THE CITY SHOULD CONSIDER PROVIDING ACCESS TO FACE COVERINGS
The city should consider establishing a mechanism to make sure that all citizens have access to face coverings rather than fine individuals for not having them. The city and its citizens have significant economic challenges that will impact them in the months to come. Between February and March, the number of employed individuals decreased by over 1,300 (5% decline) and the number of job listings decreased by over 800 (62% decline). It is unclear that large fines will be a deterrent, particularly during a time of significant stress for our citizens.
HEALTH AND SAFETY OF DECATUR RESIDENTS IS TOP PRIORITY
Our city’s number one priority is the health and safety of its residents and what the state is mandating will help protect the health and safety of our citizens. I will be following the state guidelines and encourage Decatur citizens to do the same.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss an issue including this ordinance with a city council member, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.