Fines dropped for failing to enforce mask ordinance

NOW: Fines dropped for failing to enforce mask ordinance

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. – Elkhart County is lifting fines for mask violations starting Tuesday. The ordinance which went into effect in December was the county’s attempt to make residents take the pandemic seriously. 

The decision essentially leaves the decision to enforce masks up to business owners. 

“Here at Bella’s we will continue to wear masks and have hand sanitizer so and I think it will probably increase our business and the traffic flow with people being more comfortable,” said Gina Yoder, Co-Owner of Bella’s Boutique. 

“I feel like the county council to vote to allow people to make their own choices should guide us to do exactly the same thing,” said Danny Reynolds, Owner of Stephensons. 

Reynolds says while he won’t give a customer the boot for not having a mask - he’ll still be encouraging customers to wear one. 

“I don’t feel like it’s our job to enforce such a thing so we’re just going to ask everybody to be very respectful of one another and let their conscience be their guide,” said Reynolds. 

Having a close relationship with many of his customers - Reynolds feels the smaller atmosphere of his store allows him to leave that choice up to them.

“It’s very much a two-way street. It’s all about kind of respect and appreciation of kind of one another and I think if we all sort of appreciate one another’s feelings and concerns for safety then everybody will be fine,” said Reynolds.

While in-person shopping is welcome at both Stephensons and Bella’s - there are alternative options for those who aren’t comfortable just yet. 

“We’ve always offered curbside service and we have an online store and we also still offer after-hours for people who want to shop by themselves,” said Chrissy Kriel, Co-Owner of Bella’s Boutique.  

The health department is still encouraging the use of masks at this time. 

They will continue to work with county commissioners to help decrease the number of COVID-19 cases for residents.

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