Decatur City Council passes mask ordinance

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DECATUR, Ala. – Decatur City Council passed a mask ordinance at a special called city council meeting. The vote passed 3-2. The ordinance now moves to Mayor Tab Bowling to amend, approve, or veto.

An ordinance would make wearing a mask the law and anyone not wearing a mask could be fined.

The ordinance requires people to wear masks in public places, transportation and outdoor venues.

Read the entire proposed ordinance here:

An ordinance is a little different than a health order. A major concern for some in Decatur is how will this be enforced?

“The way the numbers continue to increase, its going to only increase hospitalizations too and our goal is to not overburden the hospitals.”

Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen says his department is in favor of the ordinance. He said at the meeting this enforcement will be a collaborative effort.

“We have to work together with the community and business owners in order to make any type of ordinance work,” said Chief Allen. “We are looking for the business owners to go ahead and post the ordinance on the door so that masks are required.”

While there are several requirements, there are also several exceptions. Some of those exceptions include eating and drinking, mental or physical medical conditions, places of worship and effective communication with people who are hearing impaired.

“If you have a mental or physical issue that maybe hindered by the mask or exasperated by the mask we want to understand that and be understanding of what the community needs,” said Allen.

Allen, who is also the Morgan County Infectious Disease Control Incident Commander, says they’re working to ensure safety and make sure this transition into the ordinance goes smoothly.

“We have some folks who cant afford a mask or don’t know where to get a mask from. If we come across those surely we would be able to provide them with a mask.”

A clause in the ordinance says if you fail to comply with this, you can be fined up to $500 at the discretion of a municipal judge.

Now that the council has passed the ordinance, the city clerk has 48 hours to present it to Mayor Tab Bowling. The mayor then has 10 days to amend, veto, or approve the ordinance.