Carbondale City Council approves ordinance requiring employees to wear masks

By Amber Koteras, Staff Reporter

The Carbondale City Council approved an ordinance with a unanimous vote on Tuesday that would fine employers if their employees are found without face coverings.

The fine is a minimum of $250 every day, with a maximum of $750.

This ordinance applies to all businesses, however, the council focused primarily on Robin’s Nest Learning Center, a day care in Carbondale.

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Mayor Mike Henry said the Jackson County Health Department has traced at least 10 positive cases to Robin’s Nest.

“I also want to point out that there is only one business that we’re having this problem with so far as I know and their behavior is absolutely disgraceful; they have been unresponsive to contact tracing, they have refused – I guess for political reasons – to require masks, and this is a business that deals with children,” Councilman Adam Loos said.

Being a daycare, Robin’s Nest Learning Center is not only endangering the children, but also all the family members and friends these children are in contact with, Loos said. 

Councilperson Lee Fronabarger raised the question of how businesses will be notified of this new procedure. 

“I would assume that we will do it like we’ve done the other COVID issues and other guidelines, we’ve sent letters and contacted them. We’ve literally sent […] staff to go door to door and try to meet with as many owners as possible,” City manager Gary Williams said. 

Councilwoman Carolin Harvey moved to add a clause to anything sent out to businesses in accordance with this ordinance providing information as to how to properly wear masks and face coverings. This motion was acknowledged and accepted by the council.

“My comment is, they know exactly how that mask is supposed to be worn, they’re just not enforcing it. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to figure out how to put that mask on correctly,” Henry said. 

The issue of business licensing through the city was also brought into question. The city of Carbondale currently does not require a business license. 

Councilman Tom Grant asked specifically about a daycare license with the intention of, in the future, having the ability to revoke a license in a case of behavior such as that of Robin’s Nest Learning Center.

“We’ve talked about this extensively and I know we’ve brought up in the past having business licensing,” Williams said. “This pandemic has really shined a light on the need for that because it would give the city, not just for this reason, but it would give the city generally speaking, the ability to pull a license.”

 

Staff reporter Amber Koteras can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @AmberKoteras

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