The Chesterton Town
Council has put into place an enforceable policy limiting the number of
people who may attend “gatherings” in the town’s parks.
At their meeting
Monday night, members unanimously adopted a resolution articulating
"Emergency Procedures for the Use of Town of Chesterton Properties and Parks
and All Public Gatherings Located Within the Town of Chesterton.”
The policy is
chiefly aimed at regulating the number of people who may attend the European
Market and other Downtown festivals this summer, but is also applicable to
private “gatherings” on public property: picnics, for instance, in a park.
accordingly, is defined as an assembly of two or more people “who are not
part of the same household, for any reason or purpose.”
“Property or park”
is defined as “any lot, parcel, or right-of-way owned by the town, including
public parks, buildings, parking lots, alleys, and streets.”
Most generally, all
persons participating in a gathering in any public place are required to
“adhere to the latest CDC guidelines on social distancing and the latest
executive orders issued by the governor of the State of Indiana in an
attempt to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.”
any group seeking to use a municipal park or other property for a public
gathering in excess of 25 people must submit a plan to the Chief of
Police--no later than 21 days prior to the gathering--detailing measures for
social distancing and public safety.
-- The maximum
number of participants in the gathering is currently limited to 24; then to
100 from May 24 to June 14; and to 250 between June 15 and July 4. Those
maximum numbers, however, “may be further limited based on the amount of
area available for the public gathering and the required minimum social
-- Participants in
the gathering must maintain a distance of at least six feet from one
another, and signage demonstrating proper social distances must be placed.
-- Vending areas
must be protected by a physical barrier and spaced six feet apart, while
visitors must remain six feet away from vending booths. Only one customer
per booth at a time. Cash transactions should be limited and the plan must
identify how cashless purchases will be encouraged. Vendors’ hands must be
disinfected after every transaction or otherwise gloves worn. Visitors must
be told not to touch an item which they do not intend to purchase. Food
sampling is prohibited. Vendors must wear masks and should wear gloves to
the greatest extent possible. And vending duties must be split between
workers such that one employee is not producing, serving, and selling.
-- There must not
be more than one entrance and one exit, and those must be monitored to
ensure compliance with the limitation on participants. While waiting to
enter, visitors must stand six feet apart from one another, A sanitation
station or sanitizer sould be made available at the exit. Sponors are
responsible for maintaining and monitoring visitor ingress and egress, and
garbage cans must be placed at both the entrance and exit.
-- Signage must be
placed at the entrance providing information on best practices, including
the warning that sick or symptomatic individuals should not participate,
with guidance on what symptoms to look for. In addition the signage must
include guidance on proper social distancing protocols.
-- Visitors must be
required to wear a mask and told whether masks will be provided or sold.
Sponsors should consider whether it is feasible to make specific times
available for seniors ad immunocompromised persons.
The policy also
authorizes the Chesterton Police Department to enforce these “Emergency
Procedures,” such that violations of any of these requirements by any person
or group “shall be cause for immediate removal.”
In addition, any
spontaneous gathering of individuals in which the number of participants
exceeds that stipulated by the policy and in which no plan has been provided
“shall be immediately dispersed.”
Town Attorney Chuck
Lukmann noted on Monday that Police Chief Dave Cincoski, along with Town
Engineer Mark O’Dell, devoted a “tremendous amount of time” in formulating
the Emergency Procedures. He also emphasized that these procedures apply to
any gathering. “I don’t care if you’re selling goods or having a picnic,”
Lukmann said. “The same limitations apply: any gathering of two people or
more. We don’t care about the purpose. I have a feeling the Police
Department will be spending some time Downtown when (the European Market)
About the European
Market: both Cincoski and O’Dell undertook separate calculations as to the
maximum number of people permitted at any one time in the Duneland Chamber
of Commerce’s parking lot at 220 Broadway during a run of the European
Market. That number, given the proposed footprint of the parking lot, the
placement of booths, and social distancing requirements: around 86.
Lukmann added that
the Town Council, should it have a mind to, may make the limitations adopted
on Monday “more stringent,” “unless and until the governor changes his
And before the
Chamber launches its first European Market of the season, it needs to attend
to a couple of what President Sharon Darnell, D-4th, referred to as
“housekeeping” items: it must increase its liability insurance from $1
million to $5 million; and it must acquire separate communicable disease
“We need to close
up some of these loose ends before we can go too far down the line,” said
Member Jim Ton, R-1st.
Fisher, I-5th, took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank Cincoski and
O’Dell for their work on preparing the Emergency Procedures.