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The City of Columbus has officially mandated the wearing of face coverings.
Mayor Andrew Ginther signed an order on Thursday afternoon at a press conference requiring that face masks be worn in public.
Mayor Ginther explained that the order applies to employees and customers indoors at all times, except at restaurants and bars when guests are seated. The order also includes exemptions for medical and behavioral conditions, disabilities, and children under the age of 6.
“I know masks are uncomfortable,” Ginther said during the press conference. “I know, especially on days like these, they’re hot. And friends, I know we are fatigued from months of fighting the spread of COVID-19. But we cannot, cannot let up now.”
Beginning July 3, you are required to wear a face covering when out in public in Columbus. We all must take steps to protect health and slow the spread of #COVID19 by wearing masks, avoiding crowds and washing your hands often. pic.twitter.com/8aabuKbgYh
— Columbus Health (@ColumbusHealth) July 2, 2020
Although this is an official mandate, law enforcement officers are not authorized to criminally enforce the requirement against individual workers, customers, or patrons. But officers can enforce trespassing laws if a person refuses to wear a mask or leave a business.
The order also exempts first responders from wearing masks. According to the order, “Law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs and other first responders, while encouraged to wear Face Coverings and practice social distancing when practicable, are specifically exempt from this order while engaged in the exercise of their duties outside of an office or business-type setting.”
We must stay the course of maintaining social distancing, washing hands and wearing facial coverings. So today I am signing an executive order to mandate face coverings in Columbus.
— Mayor Andrew Ginther (@MayorGinther) July 2, 2020
Columbus saw 198 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began. Columbus Health commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts asked restaurants and bars to consider reducing their hours and capacity to help reduce the spread.
Dr. Roberts also said that the city hasn’t seen a trend of COVID-19 spreading during the protests downtown, which was something that health officials were very concerned about.
If you’re on the hunt for some reusable masks, you can check out this list here. It also comes with instructions on how to wear the mask properly, how to clean it, and how to make your own if need be.
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