Chippewa County votes down health ordinance as dozens protest

Dozens of people say they fear the health ordinance is a breach of their freedom.
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 1:05 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Thursday morning the Chippewa County Health and Human Services Board met to discuss a health ordinance that would allow the health department to enforce local health orders. After a four hour meeting, the board voted 6 to 3 not to move forward with the ordinance.

More than 50 people joined the meeting either by phone or in-person to express their concerns or thoughts about the ordinance. Outside the meeting, dozens of protesters gathered in front of the Chippewa County Courthouse.

“We don’t need a health department telling us what to do and what not to do and govern over the things we say and what we do, it is not due process,” says Belinda Onash of Bloomer.

An attorney for the county said the order would not give Chippewa County Public Health Officer Angela Weideman any new power but would only allow her orders to be enforced. He said she already has the authority to inspect schools and create local orders. The attorney also cleared up some widely discussed misconceptions, saying the order would not lead to removing children from their homes or incarceration.

Under the ordinance, people who do not comply with local orders would have faced a $100 to $500 fine.

As of Thursday, Chippewa County recorded a total of 447 cases of COVID-19 with zero deaths. The county is currently at high risk of virus spread according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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