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City of La Porte issues order requiring individuals use face masks when in businesses

LA PORTE, Ind.—The City of La Porte’s mayor, Tom Dermody, on Friday issued an Executive Order that will require all customers and employees to wear face coverings when inside of businesses to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 12 and last through Friday, August 7.

Under the new Executive Order, customers and employees will be required to wear a face covering when inside of an enclosed business unless they have a “medical exemption.”

Medical exemptions listed in the order include anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, is under the age of 2 or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The face covering should cover both the individual's mouth and nose, the Executive Order said.

“Our community has seen comparatively low numbers throughout this pandemic, but it is far from over,” Dermody said. “Our numbers are beginning to run as the anticipated second wave approaches, and we want to be prepared. The last thing we need is for the economy to shut down again, so we are being proactive in hopes that this measure will help prevent the spread of the virus and minimize the impact of the second peak in La Porte.”

In businesses such as a restaurant, face coverings will not be required as long as social distancing of at least six feet is maintained.

Retailers will also be required to provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer at entrances and near high-touch surfaces under the Executive Order.

The mayor said that the Director of Code Enforcement Jeff Batchelor is ready to enforce the order.

“Our numbers are rising throughout the country and this is not something we are going to take lightly,” Batchelor said. “My team and I will be going around the city to ensure this executive order is being followed. We don’t want to ticket people, but we will if that’s what it takes to keep our community safe.”

The order did not say how much, if at all, people who are not in compliance with the mandate will be fined. It also did not mention what enforcement of the mandate will look like.

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