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Howard County issues COVID-19 ordinance

Ordinance orders businesses providing in-person services to operate at 75-percent capacity

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In a press conference today, the Howard County Board of Commissioners issued a COVID-19 ordinance that will go into effect Nov. 23. 

The ordinance orders all Kokomo and Howard County businesses providing in-person services to operate at 75-percent capacity. Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman said he was confident area businesses would comply with the ordinance and do their parts to prevent further spread of the virus. 

"We have a high confidence in our businesses in our community that they will  adhere to the 75-percent capacity," he said. "We have some businesses in our community already that are leading the way in doing this, and we are confident the other businesses will join it."

Should businesses not comply, the Howard County Board of Health has measures in place to enforce the capacity limit, Wyman said. Businesses not in compliance may receive a visit from the board of health and be issued a warning. The board of health also has the authority to order businesses to cease and desist.

"It is my hope and prayer that we never have to do that with a business. We're confident by taking this initial step that this will reduce the spread. It will keep some capacities down," said Wyman. 

In addition, other recommendations were made that aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those recommendations were:

  • Everyone should wear a mask in all public places without exception.
  • Everyone should maintain social distancing of a minimum of six feet from others.
  • Restaurant and bar patrons should remove masks only for eating and drinking and should remain seated at their tables while on the premises.
  • Masks are encouraged to be worn by all church attendees during church service, and attendees should practice social distancing and not congregate in large groups after service is completed. Virtual services are still advised for those individuals who are susceptible to the virus due to age or underlying health conditions. 
  • School students who are eLearning should refrain from congregating in groups at friends' homes or any public  place.
  • Students as well as other individuals who are quarantined due to direct exposure should stay home and quarantine per CDC guidelines. 
  • At schools and places of employment, individuals should avoid gathering in break rooms, lunch rooms, or other common gathering areas.
  • Community recreational sports leagues should be conducted with participants only, with spectators limited to family members.