Decatur City Council to discuss enforcement of COVID-19 safety laws
Macon County has the highest per capita death rate and case rate, and the lowest vaccination rate, of any central Illinois county with a mid-sized city. Currently, Decatur and its citizens are experiencing some of the worst COVID-19 health metrics since November 2020 including extremely high case rates, test positivity, and hospital admissions. For the week of December 19-25, hospital visits were at the highest level and ICU bed availability was at the lowest level since the start of the pandemic, and seven Macon County residents died from COVID: https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/data/countymetrics.html?county=Macon.
At the next city council meeting on January 3, the Decatur City Council will be discussing the city’s current response to the COVID-19 pandemic including the need for increased mitigations and enforcement. Individuals in Decatur are required to wear face coverings in indoor public places regardless of vaccination status. The City of Decatur has three local laws pertaining to COVID-19 safety that should be enforced. Violations of these laws are widespread in Decatur, and it is commonplace to see some elected officials and city management, community leaders, and citizens not taking simple precautions to keep their fellow citizens safe.
As the COVID-19 metrics began to increase substantially in August, the city failed to enforce local laws (if the city council wanted to repeal the laws they passed, they could have, but did not. It is city management’s responsibility to ensure local laws are enforced). Sadly, inaction may have resulted in unnecessary death, hospitalizations, and long-term illness of Decatur citizens. Furthermore, many workers are currently performing their jobs in unsafe conditions whether because businesses are not requiring employees to implement well-established COVID-19 safety measures such as wearing a face covering or their customers refuse to do the same.
In addition to discussing COVID-19 safety laws, the council will also be considering additional funding for mortgage, rent, and utility assistance to those impacted by COVID-19, working with the Central Illinois Land Bank to rehabilitate vacant properties, demolition of multiple properties, and whether to alter the fee that owners of gambling machines and the establishment pay for each gambling machine.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Meetings take place in the council chambers located on the third floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.