Cleveland residents weigh in on new mandate requiring them to wear masks while in public

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Over the holiday weekend, Clevelanders weighed in on the new mandate by Mayor Frank Jackson that went into effect Friday, requiring people to wear masks in public areas.

“Outside like this on a day when it’s not even that crowded, I wouldn’t see why we would need to wear a mask,” said Adam Gunn.

Mike DiDomenico agrees. “I believe they just need to define public spaces. While I’m wearing a mask out here today, if I’m outdoors and there’s no one around, I personally don’t see a need.”

Earlier this week, the City of Cleveland reported record-high numbers of coronavirus cases, with the largest increase among people between 20 and 29 years old.

“Some of our really hotspot destinations, you know it’s elbow to elbow in some of these bars, we really need to figure out how do we get a better handle on this,” said Ward 12 Councilman Tony Brancatelli, who had planned to propose mask requirement legislation before the mayor made his announcement.

“I work in the restaurant industry, and I’ve seen it first hand that people who don’t wear their masks,” said Gunn, who does think wearing masks indoors is important.

“When this all first started I was a number one skeptic. Things have evolved, so now when I go into a building, I put it on. A grocery store, any kind of store I just put it on. It’s really simple,” said DiDomenico.

Brancatelli says the order will also help business owners with their patrons.

“We’re not leaving it up to merchants to be the police, you know we have a law, we’ll have a law in the books.”

Brancatelli says he’s working with organizations in his district to provide people with kits that include helpful resources, maks, thermometers, social distancing stickers for businesses, and more. 

“We’re not interested in fines we’re interested in compliance.”

City council is scheduled to vote on proposed consequences for not following the rules on July 15. 

Gunn doesn’t think there should be a fine, but that establishments that don’t follow the rules should be shut down.

As for DiDomenico, “Well that’s another burden you’re gonna put on the police to walk around and tell people to put on a face covering, I think they have their hands full as it is.”

The legislation would be primarily be enforced by Cleveland Police and the Cleveland Health Department.

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