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La Salle County Board passes mask requirement in county buildings

Sheriff's office will be in charge of enforcement

La Salle County Sheriff Tom Templeton
La Salle County Sheriff Tom Templeton

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The La Salle County Board gave the sheriff's office the power to remove any individual who fails to wear a face covering in county-owned buildings.

The board voted 25-1 on Monday in favor of putting procedures in place making all people wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth, submit to noninvasive temperature scans and answer four questions about their condition before entry, as well as requiring them to maintain 6 feet of social distancing when practical.

The measure, which was already mostly in practice, was passed during an emergency meeting with board member Kindra Pottinger, R-Sheridan, offering the only no vote.

Thirty-three elected officials and department heads issued a letter to the County Board stating that they would like to continue the county's reopening plan, which included the measures approved Monday.

Sheriff Tom Templeton, who signed the letter, said that while he believes there's an argument for not wearing a mask as someone's right, the health and well-being of others is superior to that right.

Attorney Julie Ajster, who spoke in public comment Monday, said she questioned the county's procedure because she believed there were inconsistencies in how it was enforced. Recently, she was told by a bailiff to put on her mask when she was more than 30 feet from another person, yet others, including Judge H. Chris Ryan entered the courtroom without one.

Deputy State's Attorney George Mueller said the resolution passed by the board Monday will make it clear that anyone in the building will be required to wear a mask. Templeton noted, however, that judges have jursidiction within their courtrooms.

Templeton said the county will work with those who can't wear a mask because of health issues, including possibly having staff meet with them outdoors to conduct business. Anyone who doesn't have a mask will have one provided for them at no cost.

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