Cincinnati mask ordinance not being enforced yet

Cincinnati mask ordinance begins amid confusion over enforcement

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati’s new mask ordinance went into effect Thursday, but the Cincinnati Health Department says they are not enforcing it yet.

Officials with the Cincinnati Health Department say they’re still putting together their enforcement protocols because they have to compare what the Ohio Department of Health said to the ordinance Cincinnati City Council passed last week.

Both are similar, but the Cincinnati version does come with a $25 fine attached if someone is found to be in violation.

Both require mask-wearing on public transportation and while ride sharing.

One difference is ODH says children under 10 are exempt while the city says children under 6 are exempt.

Collin Lingar works in Downtown Cincinnati. He told FOX19 NOW Thursday he went into several stores throughout the day without wearing a mask and wasn’t asked to put one on.

Lingar says he is against he government forcing people to wear masks.

“Enforcing it, I don’t think it’s needed,” he said.

Scott Gordon is a local business owner. He’s in favor of the mask ordinance because he says he has personal experience with the coronavirus.

As for the enforcement of the ordinance: “I’m a little unsure to be honest,” said Gordon.

Asked what he would do if someone came into his business without a mask, Gordon replied, “I’m not looking for power struggles or anything around this.”

Both Cincinnati public health officials and state health officials have said the main means of enforcement will be through education and handing out masks.

“Hopefully people are going to jump on board and buy in and work together as a community. My concern is that it doesn’t seem to be going that way,” Gordon explained.

“If you’re not going to enforce it, I’m not going to wear a mask,” Lingar said.

Officials with the Cincinnati Health Department say they will likely finalize their enforcement protocols next week.

Cincinnati mask mandate takes effect

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Environmental Health Director Antonio Young told FOX19 NOW earlier this week the health department will enforce the ordinance on the basis of citizen complaints.

“We then go out to the business, and the first thing we do is engage with the manager,” he explained. “Then we engage the individual who may not have that mask. Nine times out of 10, they will accept it.”

Cincinnati’s ordinance says businesses may refuse customers if they do not wear a mask.

It will remain in effect as long as the city is under a state of emergency.

If you want to report a violation, call 513-357-7200.

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