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Rugby City council approves mask mandate

By Sue Sitter - | Nov 7, 2020

The Rugby City Council approved by a narrow majority a mask mandate for people within the city limits at their regular meeting Nov. 2.

Citing the rising number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 locally and worldwide, the council voted on a measure originally presented as a “face covering encouragement.” The measure drew from a city pandemic illness plan adopted in April.

The mandate, which carries no penalty for non-compliance, calls for the use of face coverings of paper or two-layered cloth that cover the nose and mouth completely “and includes a paper disposable face mask or a religious face covering.”

The mandate exempts people eating and drinking, people with disabilities or conditions that prevent wearing them, people driving alone or only with passengers from the drivers’ households, sports participants, people “receiving services that require access to the face for security, surveillance, or other purposes,” and people who cannot maintain a six-foot social distance from others and cannot safely perform their jobs wearing a mask.

The mandate allows law enforcement officers or officials to “enforce trespass laws or other applicable laws in removing individuals at the request of business or other property owners.”

The mandate passed with aye votes from council members Frank LaRocque, Matthew Lunde, David Bednarz and Wayne Trottier. Nay votes came from members Joel Berg, Gary Kraft, Jackie Albrecht and Chuck Longie. Rugby Mayor Sue Steinke cast a tie-breaking aye vote to carry the mandate.

The face covering mandate became effective immediately following the vote.

The council also voted to stop making 50 cent per tote payments to waste firm Circle Sanitation for garbage collection. The cost will be passed on to city customers served by Circle Sanitation. The council reviewed the three-year contract from the waste firm negotiated in 2018, which will impose a rate increase on city customers next year.

In other business, the council heard updates from Brosz Engineering on the progress of proposed upgrades for a section of North Dakota Highway 3 through a portion of Rugby.

Project manager Jim Olson of engineering firm AE2S updated the council on proposed repairs to sewer systems in a section of the city between Third Avenue Southwest and Sixth Street.

The council approved second readings of city ordinances 429 and 430, which cover general provisions applied to zoning authority for manufactured homes, modular homes and shipping containers and their definitions.

The council also approved financials and minutes for the city of Rugby, the Rugby Job Development Authority and the Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau. The council voted to call for bids for fuel contractors and parties interested in renting city-owned agricultural land. The council also voted to approve permit requests for fundraising events by the Little Flower School Parent-Teacher Organization and the Rugby Geographical Historical Society.

The council tabled a vote on the Pierce County Operation Plan for the City of Rugby.

The council will next meet Monday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in city hall.

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