Anyone inside Seymour’s city limits until April 6 needs to remember three key words.
That’s the new ordinance in Seymour, effective at midnight last Friday, that “prohibits the gathering of 10 or more persons” in the city limits until Monday, April 6.
Exempt from the ordinance are educational institutions, daycare facilities and business operations.
Not exempt is everything else, including church services and public meetings.
The ordinance was passed unanimously by the Seymour Board of Aldermen at the group’s regular meeting Thursday, which was closed to the public because of public-health concerns due to the national COVID-19 pandemic, also known as “coronavirus.”
Mayor Richard Vinson, per City Ordinance 776, has the authority to amend any additional public gatherings to protect public health and can extend the prohibition beyond April 6 for the same reason.
“We are being proactive instead of reactive,” Vinson said before the ordinance was approved by the aldermen.
“All of the aldermen feel the same as I do ... we need to take any and all steps we can to protect the people of Seymour, and passing this ordinance was one of those steps.”
None of the aldermen voiced objection to the ordinance.
A similar ordinance was passed earlier in the week by city officials in Rogersville.
The Webster County Commission followed suit the next day, lowering its prohibition of public gatherings from 50 to 10 on the recommendation of Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Berkstresser, who assists the county as its legal counsel.
The two-page ordinance in Seymour defi nes in Section 5:
“Any person who shall violate (the ordinance) shall, upon conviction, be punished as provided by the City of Seymour. Code Section 100.220.”
In that city code, the maximum fi ne is $500 per violation.
“Let’s hope we don’t have to enforce that,” Vinson said. “Common sense needs to be followed. With this COVID-19 spreading across our nation, people need to do anything and everything they can do to prevent getting infected or to infect others.”
Copies of the ordinance are available at the Webster County Citizen office, located on the west side of the city square.
They also are available upon request at Seymour City Hall and can be picked up during normal business hours at the building’s drive-thru lane.