CINCINNATI (FOX19) - By an 8-2 vote, Cincinnati City Council approved an ordinance requiring people to wear face masks in the city starting July 9.
The ordinance requires masks to be worn in the City of Cincinnati “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.”
Businesses must have employees who interact with the public wear a mask unless they are in situations where the Ohio Department of Health says face coverings aren’t required.
The ordinance says businesses may refuse customers if they do not wear a mask.
City buildings and facilities are also covered by the face-covering ordinance, but places of worship are not.
Under the ordinance, people who ride the streetcar, take a bus, taxi, or any other ride-sharing vehicle are required to wear masks.
There are exemptions from mask-wearing, including:
- Individuals who cannot wear a facial covering because of a medical condition, mental health condition, or developmental disability
- Individuals who are not able to remove a facial covering without assistance
- Anyone who should not wear a facial covering under the current CDC guidance
Also exempt are children age 6 and under, those in private offices or eating/drinking at a bar or restaurant.
The Health Department is in charge of enforcing the ordinance. If you want to report a violation, call 513-357-7200.
Health officials say they will respond to calls with donated masks and ask people to put them on to avoid a $25 fine.
The ordinance will remain in effect as long as the city is under a state of emergency.
Council members Jeff Pastor and Betsy Sundermann voted against the ordinance.
“The sense I’m getting is that this law is not going to be enforced with the fine at all, which is why I don’t understand why it’s necessary,” Sundermann said.
Pastor says he believes that private businesses and government buildings should enforce mask-wearing, not the city.
“There is data out there that African Americans are more likely to be charged and arrested for violating these stay-at-home-orders and any other orders,” Pastor said.
Councilman Wendell Young, who voted for the ordinance, says wearing masks affects him personally because he has family members who have the virus but at the same time, he understands that not everyone can get their hands on a mask.
You may read the full ordinance below: