People refusing to wear masks inside some businesses could face trespassing charges, Stow police say

Coronavirus

STOW, Ohio (WJW) — The Stow Police Department says they will assist businesses with customers who violate the mask mandate.

Summit County, which houses Stow, is one of several Ohio counties that has been placed under an order from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health that requires masks in public.

The order applies to all counties in Level 3 and Level 4 of the Public Health Advisory Alert System, which measures the risk of coronavirus. (Watch the video above to learn more about the mask mandate.)

According to Stow police, those who enter a business that is requiring a face covering and do not wear one can be asked to leave. If that person refuses to leave they are considered to be trespassing.

Police say they will respond to trespassing violations and enforce the law if need be.

The Stow Police Department released a statement on Facebook Friday night addressing the issue of masks and enforcing criminal trespassing. It reads in part:

“Businesses have always been required to do their best to protect their customers and employees. Businesses can require that proper attire be worn in their business. Remember the phrase, “No shirt, No shoes…No service”?

So, if a business posts at the entrance to their business that a mask or appropriate facial covering is required to enter/shop, then you need to comply with the posting. If a person refuses, the business has the right to refuse service to that person(s) and they can request that person(s) leave.

If a person(s) refuse to leave then they are now trespassing. A store employee with proper authority can call the Stow Police Department to request assistance with the person(s) committing the crime of trespassing. The Stow Police Department will respond to trespassing violations and enforce (as needed).

Charging someone with trespassing is not our preferred course of action, and we would ask for everyone’s cooperation.”

Police ask that all citizens cooperate with business owners and follow the mask mandate for as long as it is required.

If a county drops to Level 1 or Level 2, it will no longer be under the mandatory mask order. However, county and local officials can still issue their own legislation requiring face coverings in public.

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