How to handle the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a hot topic at all levels of government.
Ste. Genevieve County Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson has declined requests that he issue a shelter in place mandate for the county.
Nelson addressed the issue of a mandatory county shutdown during last Thursday’s County Commission meeting.
Perry Country commissioners had recently issued a shelter in place order. Residents caught out of their homes without legitimate reasons could face arrests and $1,000 fines.
Nelson, though, does not believe Missouri counties have the legal authority to do that.
“I spent hours this weekend, going over state statutes,” Nelson said. “We have no authority to shut the county down.”
He said he conferred with the county’s attorney, Ivan Schraeder, who agreed that imposing fines or imprisonment could lead to lawsuits from residents.
“Perry County went out on a limb,” Nelson said. “I’m not going to take a chance on bankrupting the county later on in a lawsuit.”
See complete story in the April 1 edition of the Herald.