(La Porte, IN) - It’s up to businesses in La Porte County to decide whether to require patrons to wear a mask. The La Porte County Commissioners have opted against a mask mandate in the unincorporated areas. Officials in La Porte and Michigan City also chose not to force people to wear a mask in their corporate boundaries unless required by a commercial establishment.
La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski said the decision boiled down to weighing the public health risk of COVID-19 seemingly in the rear view mirror and future well-being of businesses struggling from restrictions. “Lots of people are being vaccinated. We’re trying to get this put behind us,” he said.
Previously, local restrictions during public health emergencies were previously made by the health officer in each county. In overriding the governor, a majority of the legislature felt such home rule decisions should rest with elected officials to give more of a voice to the public whose lives are impacted by restrictions. County health officers are appointed.
The commissioners also lifted the mask mandate for county government buildings except inside courtrooms. La Porte City Hall is scheduled to reopen to the public on June 1 but citizens will be required to wear a mask for at least a month. “We are eager to take a step closer to normalcy and get to have some face time with our citizens,” said Mayor Tom Dermody.
Dermody said Transporte drivers and their commuters will still be required to wear a mask because of the city’s public transportation service being under federal government regulations.
City Hall in Michigan City is still open to the public by appointment only. Future plans for the building are being developed and should be revealed next week, said Chris Yagelski, Administrator for the Mayor’s Office.