HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (WFIE) - The Hopkins County Health Department has launched a noncompliance hotline that allows residents to report places not enforcing the statewide mask mandate.
Health Department Director Denise Beach confirmed to 14 News the hotline has received 34 calls regarding 45 different businesses since Monday.
County officials say each case will be properly investigated, issuing a warning, if warranted, and then monetary fines after that.
During the city of Madisonville and Hopkins County’s coronavirus update on Wednesday, officials reported 63 active cases, prompting leaders to push the importance of the statewide mask mandate.
Even local health officials say over the past few months, facial coverings have proven to be effective in the fight against COVID-19.
“I will say that when this pandemic first started,” Dr. Wayne E. Lipson with Baptist Health said. “All healthcare workers weren’t necessarily wearing masks if they were not dealing with patients that were COVID. We mandated that our healthcare workers, everybody in the hospitals wear masks, and as soon as that occurred, the numbers dropped significantly.”
14 News spoke with local business owners Wednesday who say they are just trying to do their best to enforce Gov. Andy Beshear’s orders, despite what customers may have to say.
“Yes, we are trying,” Lisa Stanley, manager of Mark of Distinction said. “It would be very hard if a customer comes in not wearing a mask to tell them they can’t come in.”
Stanley says it can be hard because quite frankly, she needs the business after being closed for two and a half months.
Just like management at Clements Jewelers, however, small businesses in Madisonville are trying to promote safety as their top priority.
“The protection of our community is number one to us,” Taylor James, a jeweler at Clements Jewelers said. “We’ve been here for 85 years, and in order for us to continue being here, we need to respect that other people need to stay safe.”
Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield says he’s actually not a fan of the statewide order, but is a fan of wearing masks to keep the county safe. He says communication and appreciation will make his county stronger.
“They’re not out to get you if they don’t want to wear a mask, and you’re not a sheeple if you do wear a mask,” Whitfield said. “If we will work together, as the community that we are, we will be much better off.”
Click here for more information on the Hopkins County Health Department’s official website.