Cleveland safety director urges residents to follow coronavirus orders

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Newly-appointed Cleveland Safety Director Karrie Howard had a message for city residents when he spoke during Mayor Frank Jackson’s news conference on Friday.

He said the coronavirus pandemic cannot be handled by public safety services alone and the city needs everyone to take ownership during this crisis.

“While folks may feel they can survive this virus, there are long-term implications that are not yet known,” Howard said. “Do not write a check for COVID that you have to cash later. Take this seriously now.”

According to the safety director, the city worked to inform businesses about the need to protect patrons by enforcing the mask mandate, facilitating social distancing and reducing occupancy rates to decrease the potential for exposure to coronavirus. Over the last few weeks, the city issued warnings, offered guidance on floor plans, and issued citations for violations of the state dining order and Jackson’s ordinance, Howard said.

After the initial warning, businesses face a $1,000 fine for the first violation and $3,000 for each violation after.

“There is no acceptable amount of loss. There is enough death. We need crime to be reduced. We need compliance with the COVID orders,” Howard said.

The safety director said they’ve received numerous calls about mass gatherings. He asked Clevelanders to reduce house parties and barbecues, saying if you must gather, keep it to 10 people or less. He also asked people to wear a mask.

“There are folks that don’t believe that COVID-19 is real. It’s very real to those who have contracted it and it is very real those who have lost family. This needs to be taken seriously.”

For coronavirus noncompliance complaints about businesses, call the Cleveland Department of Public Health at 216-857-7165. For complaints about individuals or private residences, call the Cleveland Division of Police non-emergency line at 216-621-1234.

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