The first McLean County community is on record opposing a mask ordinance.
The LeRoy City Council voted unanimously this week against a proposal to fine people for not wearing masks in public.
Council member Greg Steffen said mask compliance hasn't been very good in LeRoy.
“What precipitated it was the mayor was being bombarded with people complaining no one is wearing a mask in IGA and he wanted to put it on the council’s back,” Steffen said.
Mayor Steve Dean proposed the ordinance that would have fined people for not wearing a mask when they can't socially distance.
The mayor then planned to delay a vote while waiting for guidance from the state because Gov. JB Pritzker later issued an emergency order for masks. But Steffen said he didn't want to wait for that to sort out. He said the feedback he got from residents was overwhelmingly against an ordinance.
He said the city couldn't realistically enforce the law, anyway.
“Our police are not going to look out in a business and see if people are wearing a mask or not wearing a mask,” Steffen said. “They’ve got other jobs to do. We just don’t have the manpower to do that kind of enforcement.”
While the council vote against the mask rule was unanimous, members voted "n" for different reasons. Council member Kelly Lay said the state mask order should be enough to bring compliance.
“If the state handles this and or the county handles this, I don’t see this being a LeRoy issue at the city level,” Lay said.
The state order calls for fines and possible criminal charges against businesses, schools and day cares for not enforcing mask compliance.
But Lay said she's concerned the vote against a mask mandate could send the wrong message. She wants to make sure people are playing it safe, even if there's no city ordinance.
“I voted no on an ordinance with the intent to clean it up because it didn’t need to be there. It was a duplicative ordinance,” Lay said. “Then (if) somehow that was interpreted in such a way that caused an outbreak within LeRoy and worst-case scenario a death in LeRoy, that would be a nightmare.”
According to the McLean County Health Department, there have been nine confirmed COVID-19 cases in the LeRoy area since the start of the pandemic.
The health department is hosting a COVID-19 testing clinic from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at LeRoy First United Methodist Church, 201 N. Chestnut St.
We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.