Cleveland mayor signs order requiring use of masks in public, Cuyahoga County may be next

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson signed an order on Friday requiring residents to wear masks at all times while in public.

It takes effect immediately and will be enforced during the 4th of July weekend.

“The spike in coronavirus cases across the City of Cleveland warrants the mandated use of masks,” said Mayor Jackson. “If Clevelanders do not heed these critical warnings and prevention efforts, the effects will be disastrous to the economy and, most importantly, to individuals and families. No one is immune to this virus.”

According to a press release, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish is planning to introduce similar legislation next week mandating masks throughout the county.

Late Friday night, Governor Mike DeWine tweeted that Mayor Jackson made the right move with making masks mandatory and his decision will make a real difference.

This week, the Ohio Public Advisory Health System classified Cuyahoga County as a Level 3 public emergency or the color red, citing “very high exposure and spread.”

“Cuyahoga County has been hit hard in recent weeks by an increase in COVID cases, as demonstrated in the Ohio Public Advisory Health System’s designation of a level 3 public emergency in our community,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “I am introducing this legislation to help protect all residents, especially our most vulnerable. Wearing a mask is a small sacrifice we can make to save lives and significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Cuyahoga County.”

Earlier this week, the City of Cleveland reported record-high numbers of coronavirus cases in the city. 84 cases were reported on July 2 and 75 cases on June 28. The largest number of cases over the past seven days have been among people between the ages of 20-29.

Today, the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been notified of 47 more confirmed test results for coronavirus in city residents and no new fatalities. 

This brings the total to 2,535 confirmed cases in the City of Cleveland and 77 fatalities.

“The new confirmed cases include males and females whose ages range from under 3 years old to their 60s. CDPH is working to identify their close contacts who would require testing or monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms,” officials said.

The City of Cleveland’s order states the following are effective immediately:

  1. Mandatory masks for all individuals out in public or in public spaces including businesses, restaurants etc. 
  2. Maximum capacity at any bar, restaurant, entertainment venue cannot exceed 50% of allowable capacity and must comply with social distancing standards.
  3. Any establishment that upon 2 incidents of violating maximum capacity order will be ordered to shut down.
  4. Mass Gathering Orders are still in effect. If incidents of more than 10 persons are gathered not wearing masks, enforcement actions will be taken.
  5. If an establishment has an employee or a patron, who has tested positive for Covid-19, then the establishment must be sanitized to the standards of the Cleveland Health Department, failure to demonstrate such sanitization will result in the facility being shut down.
  6. People should not gather during the holiday, except within the social distancing and mass gathering mandates, and shall wear masks and wash their hands often.

In addition, the following guidelines will be introduced via legislation submitted to Cleveland City Council:

Social Venues (such as restaurants, bars and clubs):

  1. Employees failing to wear masks
    1. Employees will be issued a $50 citation for failing to wear a mask
  2. Patrons failing to wear masks
    1. Patrons will be issued a $25 citation for failing to wear a mask
  3. Venues failing to facilitate social distancing
    1. Fine of $3,000 for first instance; $5,000 for each subsequent violation
  4. Businesses failing to follow occupancy limitations
    1. Fine of $3,000 for first instance; $5,000 for each subsequent violation

Mass Gatherings (Residential mass gatherings) – Residents or owners be issued a $150 citation for first incident; $300 for each subsequent incident.

Ride Sharing – Treat masks like seatbelts and issue a citation with a $50 sanction for each person not wearing a mask in the automobile.

The primary City of Cleveland agencies that will be tasked with enforcing these new rules will be the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cleveland Department of Public Health. The City of Cleveland strongly urges that residents do not gather for events, especially on the Fourth of July.

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