Decatur County: Travel ban enforcement plans outlined

A new travel ban goes into effect this morning in Decatur County with the goal of keeping people at home and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Local law enforcement says they will not be out specifically looking for those breaking the restrictions of the travel warning, but everyone should still follow the new limits.

The Decatur County Commissioners declared a local disaster emergency and issued the travel warning Tuesday. The warning is in effect until at least April 9th.

In a joint statement issued by the Decatur County prosecutor, sheriff and commissioners, as well as the Greensburg mayor and police chief, officials said officers are not out looking for violators but while doing their regular police work, if they happen to find subjects in violation they could face charges. Officers will be forwarding those reports to the prosecutor for consideration of charges.

They said there may also be occasions where officers investigate gatherings that pose a danger of spreading the disease. The criminal justice system is not looking for arrests, but residents who break the law are putting others at risk, they said.

Violating an emergency order is a Class B misdemeanor and violators could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Decatur County Prosecuting Attorney Nate Harter said that in a time of crisis, the rule of law becomes even more important.

“If you have to be out for essential purposes like obtaining food or medical treatment, at least do so using social distancing and proper hygiene,” he said. “If you dont have to be out, stay home. Its temporarily the law, and it is also the right thing to do.

State officials report 48 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Decatur County.