The rear view of a police officer wearing a bullet-proof vest labeled "POLICE".
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Elkhart County Sheriff Opts Out Of Enforcing New COVID Related Ordinance

ELKHART, Ind. — The sheriff in Elkhart County says he will not be enforcing a new ordinance that stiffens coronavirus restrictions.

This week Elkhart County commissioners adopted a new ordinance permitting fines to be levied on businesses that are not complying with mask mandates, social distancing requirements, and other COVID-related restrictions.

“I do have concerns with the enforcement portion of this ordinance and the impact it may have on our citizens,” said Sheriff Jeff Siegel in a statement. “Due to these concerns, enforcement of this ordinance will be left to the officials who are charged with its enforcement.”

Siegel said he has instructed his deputies to use “extreme caution” if they get a call related to the ordinance. In the end, he says as the ordinance is implemented, starting Dec. 17, he says “everyone’s rights will be respected.”

Elkhart County has an overall seven-day positivity rate over 15-percent and had been seeing a slight decline in the number of people testing positive through the end of November.

Siegel said though he and his deputies will not be actively enforcing the ordinance, he said he is not dismissing the severity of the pandemic.

“I encourage all of our citizens to continue to do their part, wear masks and follow all recommendations provided by the CDC and our healthcare professionals, to help mitigate exposures and reduce hospitalizations,” Siegel said. “If we all do our part, we can render this ordinance irrelevant.”

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