Mask complaints flooding health department offices around Tri-State

Hamilton Co. Health Dept. working to address mask compliance

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio’s mask mandate has been in effect for more than a month, and complaints about people not following it have filled the inboxes of local health departments.

What follows is the number of complaints received by each respective county’s health department since Ohio’s statewide mask mandate went into effect July 23:

Hamilton County: 379

Clermont County: 298

Butler County: 95

Warren County: 140

The Northern Kentucky Health Department says it has received 156 complaints since Kentucky’s statewide mask mandate went into effect July 11. (Prior to July 23, Ohio had county-specific mask mandates that depended on its public advisory system.)

Greg Kesterman is Hamilton County Health Commissioner.

“The orders have changed so much over the last four months that it can be confusing for business owners,” Kesterman said. “So, we want to makes sure that we’re educating them and making sure they know how to follow the rules appropriately.”

Kesterman says the health department has made some hires to. help the environmental team check on the county’s 379 complaints (and counting.)

“That’s our first process is making sure we’re educating the business with a phone all. Those are significantly less time than if we start to push a trip out to the business or even have to start considering enforcement.”

Maalinii Vijayan is Clermont County Health Commissioner. Complaints in the county are approaching Hamilton County’s count despite Clermont County being a quarter as large.

“It’s challenging,” Vijayan said. “So, yes, there are some overtime hours. We do work overtime, especially on the days that we see a load of complaints.”

She explains, whereas Hamilton County’s approach begins with a phone call to businesses, Clermont County’s begins with an email asking for the business’s policies.

“We receive the policy, we review them, and if we see some deficiencies in those plans, we can use them as teachable moments for those businesses,” Vijayan said. “Because, you know, this is all new to everyone.”

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