CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating your chances of getting fined for not wearing a mask under new orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued an order for people to wear masks for the seven counties in the red level of the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System, including Cuyahoga County. The same day, Cuyahoga County leaders started considering their own order for masks.
And on Friday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson issued an order for wearing masks in the city. But, who would enforce all of this?
Cuyahoga County’s plan calls for the sheriff’s department, but deputies already struggle to keep up with finding dangerous wanted felons.
The county said local police departments also could enforce the mask orders. We checked with suburban police departments. Two police chiefs told us they would not have officers going out to confront people not wearing masks. Two other suburban departments said they still had to look into this.
On Monday, the I-Team revealed Cleveland’s mayor expected 911 dispatchers to take complaints about people not wearing masks and pass those complaints to officers for follow-up.
But the I-Team revealed Tuesday new figures showing a sharp spike in violent crime in Cleveland. So we asked the mayor how he expects to have officers also enforce a mask order.
Jackson said city leaders have to be ready to handle a lot at once from a, “pandemic to social unrest.”
The state’s order takes effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday. People without a mask could be hit with a civil penalty or a criminal fine up to $750.
The state said if there is more than one mask order in an area, the one with the stiffest penalties takes priority. The state leaves enforcement up to local officials.
On the street on Tuesday, we spoke to people about wearing masks and one man said, “It’s like second nature. It has to become. It hasn’t become second nature yet.”
A mother with children all not wearing masks said, “We play each situation differently that we ‘re in. Right now, we’re out doors, nobody around.”