Anyone shopping or doing business within the Town of Elizabeth will be expected to adhere to the statewide facial covering mandate, a town official says. Those not in compliance are at risk of being …
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Anyone shopping or doing business within the Town of Elizabeth will be expected to adhere to the statewide facial covering mandate, a town official says.
Those not in compliance are at risk of being reported to the Elizabeth Police Department, and could face possible trespassing tickets if they refuse to wear a mask in a publicly accessible private establishment.
“The town is following the executive order set forth by the governor,” said Grace Erickson, assistant town administrator.
“Everyone in town should be following the order, including our town staff while they are on the clock or representing Elizabeth.
Per the governor’s order, the police department and officers don’t have to wear masks, but they will be wearing facial coverings when they are out and about.”
Elizabeth Police Chief Stephen Hasler said the mask mandate is a passionate subject, and his officers would prefer to be problem solvers and will try to bring people into voluntary compliance. If that fails, they will issue a ticket for trespassing.
“What we have is an executive order that mandates people in private public areas have to wear a mask,” said Hasler. “When you look at that it’s basically telling a business that if someone comes into your business they have to wear a mask. If not, you can ask them to leave. If we get called and somebody’s refusing to leave, if we can’t bring them into voluntary compliance, we will give them a trespass ticket.”
Hasler said they haven’t had any cases of someone refusing to wear a mask and refusing to leave an establishment, and he hopes residents will continue to respect each other and business owners.
“When you go into a business and they require a mask, it’s not because they’re being dictatorial to you. It’s because the governor has asked them to make sure you’re wearing a mask, and they could lose their license and lose money,” said Hasler. “It’s not the businesses, it’s the governor’s mandate. We’re all stuck with this and we’ve got to get through it together.”
Elbert County Sheriff Tim Norton issued a statement saying that his deputies “WILL NOT be taking any action to cite citizens of businesses for not wearing masks.” The statement urged citizens and businesses to take steps to protect their own health and safety, “whether that means carrying a concealed weapon or wearing a mask. Be smart and do what is right for you.”
Elbert County commissioners also posted on their website a statement urging personal responsibility.
“We believe that with the right information and advice, citizens will make good decisions for themselves. We trust you to continue doing what is right for yourselves, your families and your neighbors,” the statement read. “Please use your best judgment regarding the use of a face covering and be respectful of the personal choice made by other individuals (which may be based on medical or other conditions) and the businesses that require them.”
Elbert County has a relatively low rate of COVID-19 infections, with 75 confirmed cases and two deaths as of July 22. Most of the cases have been localized in the western part of the county.
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