I-Team finds no citations for violating Cleveland’s mask order

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found what’s actually happening on your streets behind all of the new health orders and tough talk we’ve heard for months about slowing the spread of COVID-19.

In short, we’ve uncovered thousands of complaints, but very little punishment.

Complaints keep pouring in to local hotlines about people not wearing masks and violating health orders. We took a fresh look at this since the presidential candidates debate in Cleveland put a national spotlight on wearing a mask.

But this week, Cleveland City Hall told us it has “no… records” of any citations tied to any new laws passed months ago by city council concerning masks. The city had threatened people with fines for not wearing a mask.

“The talk was tough in the beginning,” Councilman Brian Kazy said.

Kazy said he wonders why no one is getting held accountable after council passed new laws.

“What’s the sense of having the legislation, or the law, on the books if we’re not going to enforce it? There was no bite behind the bark.”

The city said it has taken more than 3,000 complaints about masks and people not following health orders.

Cuyahoga County said its hotlines have taken in more than 4,000 complaints. But, the county has not cited anyone either.

We’ve reported, long before the mask rules, police enforced other COVID-19 health orders so the I-Team also checked up on that.

The I-Team checked on six criminal charges filed back in the spring for people holding big parties, violating the stay at home order, or running a business considered non-essential. We found one person hit with $100 fine. Another person, though, walked away with no fine.

We saw another case dismissed. Two suspects can’t be found. And, we noticed one more person still fighting a case.

Meantime, week after week, state agents are citing bars for serving after hours and not following social distancing during the health crisis. Many of those places have already been punished.

As for the local mask complaints, the county sends letters to targets of complaints, but leaves enforcement up to each town.

We’ve reached out to the mayor’s office to ask why no citations have been filed in Cleveland.

Recordings of some of the latest complaints called in to a county hotline show citizens saying,
“No one social distancing. No one has on masks.”

“They won’t allow you to wear a mask in the store. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“No one in the kitchen wears masks.”

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