NAPPANEE — An ordinance that would have allowed city employees to enforce a county COVID-19 control ordinance imposing fines on businesses was withdrawn before it could be voted on Monday.
More than two dozen people turned out either in person or virtually at Monday’s Nappanee City Council meeting as word spread over the weekend that a fine-based ordinance would be voted on, but Mayor Phil Jenkins pulled the ordinance from the agenda earlier that day.
Mayor Jenkins joined the mayors of Goshen and Elkhart to support the county health department’s additional COVID mitigation directives that called for imposing fines on businesses for non-compliance, but comments on the city’s Facebook page were overwhelmingly critical.
The city councils of Goshen and Elkhart passed their versions of the ordinance Monday night.
Jenkins sent out a press release earlier Monday stating he was removing the ordinance from the agenda to allow more time to review it with business owners, “and properly balance our responsibility to public health and our role in government.”
The press release also stated, “We can all agree COVID has driven a wedge between all of us. This is no time to assign blame, tear each other down or continue the division. We need understanding and compassion in order to work through this present health crisis.”
“That means laying aside some of our rights for the greater good of the community. That means humbly admitting we don’t have all the answers,” the mayor’s statement continued. “Nappanee has overcome challenges before and I am convinced that we can do it again. I hope we can remain civil and work collectively on a path forward for our community.”