ELKHART, Ind. — City leaders in Elkhart are about to roll out fines for any businesses in Elkhart caught violating any standing public health orders.
Mayor Rod Roberson has been spearheading the effort as he has been working with the Elkhart Common Council on writing and pushing a bill through, outlining the fines. Roberson clarifies he is not looking to punish businesses, but educate business owners.
“This is an opportunity to educate our businesses and organizations,” he told the council at the bill’s final reading on Monday. “To make sure the health order is adhered too.”
In the final reading, councilors laid out the structure of the fines. A first and second offense will only result in a written notice to stop violating public health orders or formal warning. A third offense will result in a $100 fine and a fourth offense would be a $250 fine.
“If we are educating along the way, then the highest fines you see we’ll never get to,” Roberson added.
Roberson spoke at the bill’s first reading last week in which he detailed how he recently had COVID-19 and that he has lost family and friends to the pandemic.
The public got a chance to weigh in on the meeting as well with a mixed bag of opinions being voiced about the fines. One of those who spoke was Kim Henke, a registered nurse at Elkhart General Hospital.
“The marathon is not yet finished and it is difficult for those working the front line,” she said. “Don’t forget us, because we have not forgotten you.”
The ordinance passed 7-to-2 and with Roberson having committed to signing off on it, fines could start being implemented this week.