EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — People living, working and visiting Edwardsville could be fined if they are caught not wearing masks in public after the city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the ordinance.
It takes effect immediately.
"It is critical that we all do that service and wear a mask and we do not want to see our officers write a ticket," Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton said during the meeting. "We are not interested in money. We are interested in public health."
The City of Edwardsville issued a mask mandate and declared a state of emergency last month. The ordinance would allow the city to enforce the mandate by issuing the fines.
For individuals, the fines would be $25 for the first offense, $50 for a second offense, $100 for a third and $250 for a fourth and any subsequent offenses.
For businesses, stores, offices and venues, the fines start at $50 for the first offense and gradually increase to $500 for the fourth and any subsequent offenses. And each day on which a violation occurs or continues will be considered a separate offense.
Patton pointed to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the city and Madison County. In November, Edwardsville reported 793 cases of COVID-19 compared to 221 cases in October, according to a slide Patton showed during the meeting.
According to data on the health department's website, the county's seven-day positivity rate is at 14%. Madison County is part of the state's Region 4, which has a seven-day positivity rate of 15.5% percent.
"I do not believe it is the government's position to regulate morality, but it is the government's position, I believe, to step in when we have a national crisis, particularly one of this scale," said Edwardsville Ward 5 Alderman William Krause.
The ordinance is in place until the city repeals it.
Read the entire ordinance below:
The city's emergency declaration requires the following:
- Everyone must wear a face mask when they can't maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from people outside of their immediate household
- Children ages 2 and under should not wear a mask due to suffocation risk. There are also exceptions for people with mental health/medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from wearing a face covering; the hearing impaired or people who communicate with them, who require seeing the mouth to communicate; people who are running or walking while maintaining social distance; and people who are eating or drinking.
- Businesses must provide hand sanitation at every entrance, which must be used by all staff and guests
- All businesses such as fitness facilities, retail centers, office buildings and convenience stores are limited to 25% of normal occupancy.
- Grocery stores and pharmacies are limited to 50% of normal occupancy.