COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - A mask mandate for Hamilton and Butler counties will go into effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued the order after the governor said he spoke with local health commissioners and found that coronavirus was spreading in large family gatherings (birthday parties, graduations, funerals, etc.), in the workplace, at tourist destinations, and in churches.
DeWine says this mandate applies for the following areas in Butler and Hamilton counties:
- Any indoor location that is not a residence.
- Outdoor areas where 6′ of social distancing cannot be maintained from people who are not family members of their households.
- Transportation and ridesharing services.
A misdemeanor charge will be the penalty for violating the mask requirement in the designated areas, according to the governor.
In a statement of support of the mandate, the Cincinnati Police Department clarified: “This is a health-related order, therefore the Cincinnati Police Department will not enforce this mandate. (...) If a potential violation of this mandate is observed it should be directed to the local Health Department officials.”
The same is true with Cincinnati’s mask ordinance, which relies on the Cincinnati Health Department for enforcement rather than Cincinnati police.
The ODH’s mask ordinance goes into effect one day before Cincinnati’s.
Ohio’s mask ordinance does not apply to kids under the age of 10 or any minor who cannot safely wear a face covering, DeWine said.
The governor added this doesn’t apply to people who have been advised to not wear a mask by a physician, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulation, if communicating with the hearing impaired, when along in your office or personal workspace, and other similar measures.
The mandate will remain active for each county until it is no longer in the red or purple risk category, DeWine explained.
The ODH will update county rankings ever Thursday.
Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus, Vice President Stephanie Summerow Dumas and fellow Commissioner Victoria Parks are unanimous in their support for the mask mandate.
“Masking up helps keep our loved ones safe and our businesses open,” Driehaus said. “We have been working with the governor in recent days on an approach that is streamlined and consistent throughout Hamilton County, and support this step to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
“I have the responsibility as a public servant to protect the people of Hamilton County,” Dumas explained. “One small way to safeguard our residents from this deadly virus is to mandate wearing masks in public.”
“I’ve seen the devastating effects COVID-19 has on families and communities,” Parks said. “Requiring masks is a simple way to say we all have a role to play in preventing the spread; it’s a way to say I care about protecting others.”
948 new coronavirus cases were reported on Tuesday by the state health department.
Ohio has now seen a total of 58,904 cases.
With 43 more deaths from the coronavirus announced on Tuesday, ODH data shows the overall death toll is now 2,970.
The number presumed recovered in the state is 41,438.