Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
The City of Edgerton voted to opt out of the newest Johnson County public health order during their Dec. 10 council meeting.
Johnson County Board of Public Health Issue Order No. 002-20 went into effect at 12:01 a.m., on Nov. 16. The county order will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m., on Jan. 31, 2021. It provides for a $500 fine for violations.
Beth Linn, city administrator, said Johnson County contacted the cities in Johnson County requesting that each city enter into a Government Enforcement Services Agreement to allow Johnson County the authority to enforce the public health order within the corporate city limits.
Linn said if the city were to opt in to the county order violations of the health order would be prosecuted through Johnson County and the city would assist in reporting and investigating order violations.
Clay Longanecker, council member, said Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden didn’t support the order and he also doesn’t accept it.
Justin Everson, Full Draw Bar and Grille owner, said the orders were hurting his business.
“For Johnson County to tell us to close at midnight it’s been hurting us,” he said. “Some customers haven’t come back, and it’s basically handcuffing us.”
Don Roberts, mayor, said he personally felt it was government overreach and was concerned about the damage to small businesses.
“I am not disputing Covid isn’t killing people, but it is hurting our economy,” he said. “The backbone of our country is small businesses not the Walmarts. It is the small guy that builds our country.”
Roberts said it is everyone’s personal responsibility.
“You should listen to your mother and wash your hands,” he said.
Longanecker said if people hadn’t learned Covid prevention in the past ten months they weren’t going to start now.
Ron Conus, council member, said locking everything down had caused more harm than good.
Joshua Beem, member, said he had tested positive and thinks it is up to each individual.
“I don’t think we should enforce it,” he said.
The order has provisions about the types of public spaces that will require 6 feet of physical distancing and limits mass gathering to 50 people or 50 percent of capacity allowed by a building’s fire codes. The order prohibits certain types of large-scale events and contains provisions for restaurants and bars, recreational and youth organized sports, and fitness centers/ health clubs 6’ of physical distancing. Businesses and organizations must maintain 6 feet of physical distancing within their establishments. Individuals within a public space must maintain 6 feet of social distancing from other individuals, unless they live in the same household.