OKOLONA – The Okolona City Council voted unanimously to amend the mask order in place to include fines for noncompliance.

The move was made during the meeting on July 28 to impose fines on anyone violating the executive order enacted by Mayor Sherman Carouthers that states that the public must wear masks.

The fines apply to anyone aged 12 or older, except for those who have a medical condition which prevents the wearing of a mask. They must also present legitimate documentation of their illness to avoid being cited.

Parents of children who are cited will be responsible for paying the fine.

The structure of the fines is:

1st offense – $200

2nd offense – $300

3rd and all subsequent offenses – $500

“We need to give this some teeth,” said Mayor Sherman Carouthers. “We have folks out here having parties and not wearing their masks.”

Many have spoken out about the order, some praising it, and others condemning it as a violation of civil rights.

The police will be responsible for enforcing the order as well. They are instructed to cite anyone caught without a mask in public unless they have documentation of a medical condition.

This was decided after discussing whether or not to penalize business owners who did not enforce the order, however, they said that the police patrol would catch them before they entered the business.

The order officially took effect on Saturday, Aug. 1.

Mayor Carouthers signed an executive order on Wednesday, July 1, strongly recommending that masks be worn in public. This was an amendment to this order that added penalties, no longer making it a recommendation, but instead an order.

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