Ohio Gov. DeWine issues updated mask mandate with penalties for business violations

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced an updated mask mandate with penalties for businesses.

DeWine said each business must post a sign about the face covering requirement at all public entrances. Each store is responsible for ensuring that customers and employees wear masks.

“Throughout the pandemic, most people and most businesses in Ohio have done things right, by wearing masks and ensuring that safety guidelines are followed. We are grateful for that. It is those actions that kept the virus from spreading uncontrollably in the spring and summer,” DeWine said.

A new retail compliance unit will be comprised of agents from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

Businesses can receive a written warning for first violations. Second violations can close the store for up to 24 hours.

Business owners react to the news in the video, below:

“We know that masks work. It is the easiest, most cost-effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19. Every retail employee has the right to work in an environment that is as safe as can be, which means all customers must wear masks,” DeWine said.

The governor addressed the state Wednesday evening, as opposed to his usual news conferences on coronavirus on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

DeWine’s last major statewide orders on the pandemic came in July. About two weeks after beginning county-specific mask orders, he announced a mandate requiring masks in public places across the state. Soon after, he signed an order changing the last call for alcohol in bars and restaurants to 10 p.m.

The Ohio Department of Health said there have been 267,356 total confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, and 5,623 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. It is presumed that 191,950 have recovered.

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