Kent adds mask ordinance; Police say enforcement falls on health department

Coronavirus

**In the video, above, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine calls on Ohioans to wear masks**

KENT, Ohio (WJW)– The city of Kent became the latest in Ohio to make masks mandatory in public places amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kent Police Department said calls about mask enforcement should be directed to the Kent Health Department, not police. When it comes to police enforcement of the mask mandate, it mainly amounts to trespassing charges.

“Businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone, based on a number of different circumstances. Whether it be a sign that says, ‘No shirt, no shoes, no service’ or a recently-passed ordinance requiring the wearing of face coverings in establishments within our city, if you don’t follow the rules or the laws, you can be asked to leave,” Kent Police Lt. Mike Lewis said in a video on the department’s Facebook page.

“If you refuse to leave the business, we will be contacted in regards to an incident of criminal trespassing and charges could apply.”

Lewis asked for cooperation as we continue to maneuver through this pandemic.

“Please practice being kind, courteous and respectful to one another,” Lewis said.

Facial coverings are required in Kent: 

  • in indoor areas accessible to the public
    • inside a retail business establishment
    • all customers in restaurants and bars must wear facial coverings when not at their table
    • in office spaces open to the public when they are inside the establishment
    • customers of personal care and grooming businesses
  • in outdoor areas accessible to the public, if physical distancing of at least 6 feet of separation is not possible.

Exceptions for Facial Coverings:

  • due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the facial covering without assistance)
  • actively eating or drinking
  • strenuously exercising
  • seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible
  • giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience
  • temporarily removing his or her facial covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes
  • child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the facial covering safely on the child’s face
  • whom facial coverings are prohibited by law or regulation or are inconsistent with industry standards while the customer is on duty
  • Anyone who declines to wear a facial covering for any reason is not exempt from the requirement to practice adequate social distancing, keeping a minimum of 6 feet between them and any other person outside of their household
  • Children under 5 years of age should not wear a facial covering

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