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Mask compliance concerns continue in Carbondale

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- Health departments, local lawmakers and community leaders throughout the state of Illinois are continuing to ask residents everywhere to wear their mask.

In Carbondale, the city issued an ordinance requiring them to be worn in public, but residents say those regulations simply are not being followed.

"It was surprising to see that it wasn't being enforced, and that there were people that just didn't care to comply," explains Carbondale resident Rob Helton who recently returned from a trip to Chicago where he says mask compliance was near 100%.

It surprised him when he returned home to find that even with rules in place, people are still refusing to wear a mask in public.

"I don't know what the percentage would be that people don't comply, but the vast majority complies," says Helton, "It's just a few here and there that just don't seem to like to wear a mask."

Helton is not alone in noting pockets of people disregarding masks regulations in stores throughout Carbondale. News 3 reached out to the city, which reports numerous complaints concerning shoppers inside markets without a mask. They also say that the majority of residents are following the ordinance and they applaud those efforts, they add, "However, we understand some will continue to ignore this directive."

Murdale Ace Hardware manager Michelle Wallace says they have and continue enforce 100% compliance. She says they are seeing fewer and fewer customers trying to shop without a face-covering.

"Most people come in here and they want to be safe, they keep their distance they have their mask," says Wallace, adding that if they don't, Ace will provide one. Wallace says it is understood that wearing a mask is not exactly comfortable, "But, we all have loved ones, we all want to get over this, we want the kids to be able to go back to school, the only way to overcome it is for us to all pitch in and do our part."

As for Helton, he says it is not about penalizing people, it is about respecting others, "The mask is for our safety, it shouldn't be politicized it should just be for our safety."

According to the City of Carbondale, they do not currently have staff "dedicated to identifying those violating the Mask Ordinance," however, they will continue to review complaints and do what is necessary to gain compliance, including issuing violations of up to $750.

Joe Rehana

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