CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, the state-imposed mask ordinance for Hamilton County, Butler County and several other Ohio counties goes into effect.
Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus applauded Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision on the mask mandate Wednesday afternoon while noting cases in the county are trending “significantly up.”
“Masking up helps keep our loved ones safe and our businesses open. 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,” Driehaus said.
DeWine announced the Department of Health ordinance on Tuesday.
The governor said this mandate applies in 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 ride-sharing services.
The order does not apply to children under the age of 10 or anyone who cannot safely wear a mask.
Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman told FOX19 NOW the mandate is going to be a complaint-driven process, just as Cincinnati Environmental Health Director Antonio Young said Tuesday.
Kesterman says he knows there will not be 100-percent compliance.
“It’s not a surprise that public health is a fan of masks,” Kesterman said.
Both the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and the Cincinnati Police Department say they support their respective mask mandates but will not enforce them because they are health-related orders.
“Citizens should not call a sheriff’s district or 911 for potential violations of this health-related mandate. Instead, citizens may file complaints with the Hamilton County Public Health,” the sheriff’s office said.
The Deer Park Police Department and Norwood Police Department also say they will also not enforce this mandate.
FOX19 NOW reached out to Gov. Mike DeWine about who will enforce the mandate and received the following reply: “”We hope people will comply. Police or health dept.”
The mask order will remain in effect until Hamilton County is no longer in the “Red” category of the Public Health Advisory Alert System.
Reaction to the order in Hamilton County is mixed.
“I don’t wear a mask, because I’m covered by the blood of Jesus. It’s violating a lot of people’s rights,” resident Darius Clay said.
Hagit Rubinstein Towler owns a business in Hamilton County. Her store has already been requiring customers to wear masks. She says she is a fan of the ordinance.
“I think that it’s up to the establishments to require masks and to enforce it,” she said.
“The reason I think we should wear a mask is because it saves your life and for the simple fact that you have to look out for yourself and others,” resident Brandon Gill told FOX19 NOW.
Fellow resident Craig Thomas said the order comes too late.
“I feel like it should’ve been mandated well before this,” Thomas explained.
“If it could save a life, I am going to do it,” said Kelsey Allen.