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CLEVELAND –  Cleveland City Council members voted to approve legislation Wednesday which will establish penalties and fines for anyone who violates the COVID-19 mask mandate.

The legislation will also establish penalties for businesses that fail to follow occupancy restrictions. ( See below.)

“The mandatory mask requirement is not something we want to do, it’s something we have to do,” Mayor Frank Jackson said Tuesday, during a teleconference with citizens.

Mayor Jackson issued the mask mandate July 3.

The mayor said the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the city.

“Within the last seven days we have had three days where each day we had over 100 new infections,” Jackson said. He added that as people, particularly those in their 20s, continue to socialize by going to bars and restaurants.

The mayor stressed they won’t be “running around Cleveland and citing everyone without a mask.” 

“We will be enforcing this in a strategic way,” Jackson said.

He said city officials will be meeting with owners of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs this week. He said those in the establishments will need to wear masks unless they are eating or drinking.

Citations may be issued with fines for the following:

·       Any business or person violating the mask or safe-seating order (which maintains social distancing of at least six feet between patrons) is subject to civil penalties. Following the issuance of a warning, there is a $25 fine per violation. 

·       Any City business with an employee who becomes ill with the coronavirus, is required to immediately disinfect and sanitize the premises. Following the issuance of a warning, a $1,000 fine may be issued for each violation.  If that fine is ignored, the business could face a $3,000 fine for each violation.

“We will be enforcing this,” the mayor said. He said officials will be going over the legislation with owners and letting them know what needs to be done “if they want to stay open.”

Cuyahoga County currently is rated at the red Level 3 on the state of Ohio’s risk scale for COVID-19 infections.

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