Cincinnati mask ordinance to go before council Friday

City Council meeting over proposed mask ordinance

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Council will hold a special session and possibly vote on an ordinance Friday that would require city residents to wear face coverings.

The motion, co-sponsored by council members Greg Landsman and Jan-Michele Kearney, is included in full below.

It would require masks to be worn “when entering, exiting, or waiting in an indoor line to enter a place of business that is open to the public, and while inside a place of business in the areas within the place of business that are accessible to, and are intended for the use of, the public.”

It would also require masks in any public transportation, such as a bus or other public transit vehicle, or a taxi or ridesharing vehicle, or any other vehicle for hire.

Exemptions exist for those who cannot wear masks because of a medical condition, mental health condition or developmental disability.

Violators are subject to a civil fine of $25.

Mayor John Cranley said in a Thursday news conference that he supports an ordinance on mask-wearing.

If the ordinance is passed, Mayor John Cranley said it is his understanding it would apply only to indoor areas.

“My understanding is council is contemplating an indoor mask requirement, not outdoor,” the mayor said.

If council passes an ordinance, it will be enforced by police, Cranley said, but if a resolution is passed police will not be involved.

“It’s no question that we will be likely sued with whatever we do if it’s an ordinance,” the mayor said. “And so, I think we’re on the strongest legal ground if there is a full hearing, legislative action, legislative discussion, law passed.”

Cranley said the ordinance would be similar to the one the Dayton City Commission unanimously approved on Wednesday.

Dayton’s ordinance mandates coverings in enclosed spaces. It will take effect Friday at 8 a.m.

Coverings are not required outside unless six feet of social distancing is not practical, but they will be required in lines outside places of business.

If someone does not comply, the police may issue a civil fine to the individual.

Following Dayton’s decision to mandate facial coverings, council members P.G. Sittenfeld, Greg Landsman, Chris Seelbach and Jan-Michele Kearney tweeted statements backing a mask requirement, while council members Jeff Pastor and Becky Sundermann say they are opposed.

According to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer, David Mann is also in favor of a mask mandate but says he has concerns about how to enforce it.

Christopher Smitherman told the Enquirer he’s not going to comment until he’s seen specific legislation.

Cranley says a mask ordinance for indoor settings will have to go through the Budget & Finance Committee, which meets at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

The full council will meet in special session following the committee meeting.

Mayor Cranley also announced, starting Thursday, Kroger will have free masks available at the entrance of all of its City of Cincinnati stores.

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