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Board of Health passes mask mandate with penalties

The Board of Health passed a mask mandate regulation Thursday afternoon, to be sent for approval to Webster County Supervisors, that includes civil penalty provisions for businesses that allow customers to enter without masks.

The regulation, passed three to one, would impose fines of up to $750 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses for businesses acting in bad faith that allow customers or clients to refuse to wear masks, under most circumstances. Supervisor Mark Campbell, a member of the board, was the sole dissenting vote.

The new regulation will take effect only if County Supervisors add a resolution to the agenda for their next Tuesday meeting and approve it.

The original language of the regulation would have made the first offense’s fine a minimum of $750. An amendment proposed by Campbell adding the language “up to” before “$750” would give discretion to law enforcement and magistrate court judges enforcing the regulation.

The regulation follows the Fort Dodge City Council’s passage of a mask mandate resolution in November and would apply to the entire county. Critics of such mandates previously said that the regulation had no teeth for enforcement.

This breaking story will be updated.

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