WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis asked the city council to rescind the mask mandate and instead have a mask advisory. The topic was tabled at Monday's meeting but will be on the agenda for next month. The mayor feels that social distancing hand washing and wearing a mask has become the new normal. So much so that the majority of citizens are doing so on their own without being asked to. That's why he feels it's a good time to lift the mandate.
"Graduation is coming up soon and students will be leaving our community and not coming back till the fall so this will give us a good opportunity to see how well this policy works within our local population," said Mayor Dennis. "If it works well we can go ahead and encourage the same kind of cooperation with our student-based population. "
Mayor Dennis says that since the mask mandate has been in place the West Lafayette Police Department has not issued any tickets for people not wearing one. If the mask mandate is rescinded at the next meeting it will no longer be in effect come early June. Dennis says the city will still encourage people to wear masks though.
"We still will strongly encourage wearing masks," said Mayor Dennis. "We know what a valuable asset that is for our personal health and the health of others."
West Lafayette is also getting over 11 million dollars from the American Rescue plan passed by congress. At Monday nights city council meeting an account was created for the funds so they can distribute them once they are received. The city will get 5.5 million of the over 11 million dollars later this month. A separate account has to be established because the funds provided by the American Rescue plan have to be used for COVID-19 recovery and it's required by law. West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis says once the funds are in the account they will ask for the public input on where they can best be spent.
"People are aware that these funds are coming," said Mayor Dennis. "That will really give the community an opportunity to start looking and see if they qualify and how it's going to benefit them and then obviously communicating with us to know how we can help them with those funds."
The federal dollars have to be used by 2024. The Mayor says they hope to start allocating them by the middle of the summer.