WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — The Wells County Commissioners have voted unanimously on a new resolution that would defy any future mask mandates or COVID-19 immunization passports.
“What we’ve done and said is we are not going to mandate the citizens and taxpayers of Wells County to wear masks or focus them to take vaccinations against their will,” said Michael Vanover, Wells County Commissioner. “The resolution itself spells out what elected officials, specifically the commissioners of Wells County, stand.”
The resolution was passed earlier this week and establishes what the county would do in the event of more state and federal mandates:
- In the absence of a state or federal mandate, Wells County will not create or enforce one;
- If the state or federal government create a vaccination mandate, Wells County will not voluntarily use its resources in support of the same;
- As a statement of policy, politics, or morality, Wells County disagrees that such a mandate is proper; and
- As a matter of Constitutional Law, Wells County thinks that the prior precedent should not apply to the circumstances of the current pandemic and may argue the same if forced to do so.
Recently the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came out with new guidelines regarding the wearing of masks. It calls for all children to wear masks in school. In the resolution, commissioners say that the new CDC guidelines “conflict with prior guidance” and that “local authorities should exercise common sense.”
Vanover said that the resolution gives residents the power to choose.
“We trust our citizens in Wells County, we feel that the information that’s out there right now is enough that people can make good solid decisions for themselves and their families,” Vanover said. “We don’t know what is going to come down the road with leadership in D.C. and the state. I think it’s good to get ahead of it.”
Because of the information about COVID-19 that is available, Vanover said it was the “perfect” time to make this resolution. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Vanover told WANE 15 that the commissioners had received calls from worried residents about the county’s plans.
But what about the possible fines and/or penalties the county could see from the state and federal government if a mandate was put in place and the county were to ignore the order? Vanover said that there isn’t a mechanism to place fines.
“I can’t predict what the future holds,” Vanover said. “We will always look at and consider whatever demands are made on us from the state but we also will talk to the citizens of Wells County residents and we will make a decision with them and the other elected officials to do what is best for them.”
Vanover said that if another strain of COVID-19 develops or another disease develops, the commissioners will pause and reconsider the resolution.