July 22, 2020
The City of Richmond is aware of the Wayne County Health Department's recommendation that City and County Government Issue a joint-executive order requiring all citizens to wear protective face coverings. As Mayor I certainly understand and appreciate this recommendation, and value the guidance of our Health Department. I have talked at length with my team members and citizens alike and reviewed this recommendation against the current state of the pandemic, as well as individual liberties, which cannot be ignored.
After having reviewed all relevant information, I have concluded that an order requiring every citizen in Richmond to wear protective face coverings, at least at this time, will not be issued. Were such an order to be issued, enforcement would likely be problematic. The law provides that failure to abide by orders issued pursuant to an emergency declaration is a class B misdemeanor. While we continue to strongly encourage everyone to use protective face coverings when social distancing is not possible, criminalizing the failure to do so is not a step that I am prepared to take at this juncture.
Although I will not be mandating protective facial coverings of all citizens at this time, I have determined that effective immediately, The City of Richmond will require every member of the public to wear a face covering when entering any building owned or operated by the City of Richmond. I encourage other businesses and organizations in this community to join in this effort and require masks for those who enter your buildings for the safety of your team and other patrons.
Balancing the protection of individual liberties and measures designed to protect the health and safety of the community is a complicated and daunting task. My team and I will continue to monitor this situation, and will work with the County Commissioners and the Wayne County Health Department in assessing the need for future Executive Orders; and, may revisit the Health Department's request at a later time, depending on local health metrics. In our continued efforts to stay in lock step with Governor Holcomb's "Back on Track" plan, if a statewide mask mandate were to be issued, the City of Richmond would not object to such a mandate.
It is my sincere hope the current Joint-Executive Orders, combined with this community's efforts to protect themselves and others by choosing to wear a mask and social distance will slow the spread of this virus. If we are to truly combat this pandemic, we must do so together. This will require all of us to make conscious decisions to keep our family, friends, and healthy during this difficult time.
-David M. Snow, Mayor
Executive Assistant to the Mayor
City of Richmond, Indiana (765)983-7580
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