Lack of enforcement of COVID-19 safety laws leaves Decatur residents with fewer options to safely meet basic needs
I ask that citizens please take the steps necessary to protect yourself, your family, and your fellow citizens from COVID-19 including being vaccinated and boosted, wearing face coverings indoors, and social distancing so that you can keep yourself and others safe. Decatur and Macon County residents are now experiencing the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, 11 county residents died from COVID-19 related deaths the first week of 2022, and Macon County’s seven-day % positivity - 29%, case rate - 2,401 per 100K, number of new cases reported - 2,497, and percent of daily hospital beds used are at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home). Simultaneously, the vaccination rate in Macon County is the lowest of any central Illinois county with a mid-sized city, thereby making Decatur citizens unnecessarily vulnerable to a deadly disease whose worst effects are now mostly preventable.
The Decatur City Council passed three COVID-19 safety laws in 2020 that are independent of the Governor’s indoor mask mandate. Among other things, these local laws require individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public places regardless of vaccination status. Unfortunately, violations of the city’s three COVID-19 safety laws are widespread and commonplace, with violations taking place routinely at many large and small businesses in Decatur. This has resulted in Decatur residents having fewer options to purchase groceries and other needed products safely, and the workers at such businesses are working in unsafe conditions.
Inaction by the city to enforce basic steps to protect public health as the COVID-19 pandemic began to worsen in August may have resulted in unnecessary death, hospitalizations, and long-term illness of Decatur citizens. Failure to keep people safe from COVID-19 in the past does not mean that there must be inaction now and in the future. For this reason, I once again ask city management to enforce laws that protect the public during the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes. I thank the many entities that are following COVID-19 safety laws and taking precautions including being vaccinated and boosted, wearing face coverings indoors, and social distancing.