On Monday, Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. signed an Executive Order that reinstates a mask mandate in all public buildings throughout the city. “With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, it is imperative that we do everything we can in city government to ensure that government and city services continue for our residents,” said Mayor McDermott. “By instituting the mask mandate in city buildings, we can do our part to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and give our employees and those that visit city buildings and offices the safest possible environment under the current circumstances.”
The Executive Order does not extend to private businesses or while outside, participating in sporting events, or while eating or drinking. “I’m not dictating to businesses what their mask policy is or should be. That’s up to each individual business to decide for themselves. I want to make sure we are safe at city hall and all other public buildings so that the city is being proactive is protecting its workforce including our first responders,” said Mayor McDermott.
The Executive Order also encourages everyone to be vaccinated and boosted as the best and easiest way to slow the spread and minimize the risk of hospitalization and death if anyone tests positive for COVID-19. “I’ve told everyone that will listen that I’m vaccinated and boosted and that doing so is the best way to overcome this illness and minimize the risk to yourself of a severe illness or worse. Go get the shot—that’s about as straightforward as I can be,” said the mayor.
The Executive Order officially take effect today, however, with city hall and some city buildings closed, it will take effect for most employees tomorrow. “I wanted to make sure departments and their staffs were prepared so that when most come back to work on January 4th they were aware of the Executive Order and prepared to proceed accordingly. I hope I can reverse this and rescind the order soon but given what we are hearing about a surge and with many holiday gatherings increasing the risk of spread of COVID-19 I think this is the best course of action for the near term,” said Mayor McDermott.
Persons not abiding by the mandate will be refused entry to city buildings and/or will be asked to leave. “We’ve learned during the pandemic to be very accessible. Most if not all city board meetings are available by zoom and all departments can be reached by email or phone. I would encourage residents to use these resources to stay in touch with your city government during the pandemic,” stated Chief of Staff Phil Taillon. The order expires if no action is taken by the mayor to renew or rescind it on March 1st.