BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Butler County officials announced on Wednesday they have a plan in place that will provide free masks to people throughout the county.
Butler County EMA Director Matt Haverkos says he estimates around 150,000 masks will be available later this week.
You will be able to get masks, once they are available, at select fire stations and businesses in Fairfield, Hamilton and Middletown, according to Butler County Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer.
The exact fire stations and businesses that will have masks have not been identified, but Haverkos says people need to check the EMA website later this week for updated information.
Fairfield, Hamilton and Middletown were chosen for distribution points based on the health department’s COVID-19 analysis of those areas, Bailer explained.
Bailer added that Butler County had its highest number of new cases in one day, 45, last week. She did not specify which day it was.
While she did not call it a spike, Bailer said the number of hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients continues to rise.
Starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, the mask ordinance for Butler County and several other Ohio counties goes into effect.
DeWine says this mandate applies for the following areas in Butler County:
- 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.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones says he’s not going to enforce mask policy or have his deputies stop people and tell them to put their mask on.
“I’m am not going to be the mask police. I’m not going to enforce mask policy to where my deputies stop people and say, ‘Put your mask on.’ That’s not going to be the case. It’s out of control and if people want to wear a mask then they should be able to wear a mask and if not they shouldn’t,” Jones said.
The Fairfield Police Department said they will also not be issuing citations for mask violations because this is a public health order.
Police ask residents not to call 911 to report a violation, but instead call the Ohio Department of Health, 833-427-5634.