Metro Parks, Columbus Zoo Announce New Rules Regarding Face Masks

After continued increases in COVID-19 cases and Governor Mike Dewine’s new mask mandate, many local businesses and organizations are strengthening their rules.

It’s not just bars and restaurants that are contributing to the effort. Even spaces that are largely outdoors are increasing mask precautions. The Metro Parks systems will now be requiring face coverings at all times while in the park, as well as increasing their calls for physical distancing.

“Metro Parks is implementing the following steps to protect the health and wellbeing of our visitors and staff in order to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Metro Parks shared on social media.

“Effective November 16, 2020, all Metro Parks employees and all visitors are required to wear a mask while in a Metro Park. Per the governor’s order, exemptions can be made for persons who are medically or developmentally unable to wear a mask and children under the age of ten. The order requires that the mask cover the person’s nose, mouth and chin. All participants in Metro Parks sponsored programs must wear a mask.

Additionally, please adhere to social distancing and stay six feet or two arm’s length from other people who are not from your household.”

At the Columbus Zoo, similar changes are being implemented.

“With the recent surge of positive COVID-19 cases in the state, and with the recommendation of the Ohio Department of Health and the Governor reissuing the statewide mask order with new provisions specific to retail and businesses, we are making some changes to our operation policies,” the Zoo shared.

“Starting Monday, November 16, to enter the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Wilds and Safari Golf Club, if you are medically able and 10 years old and older, you are required to have a mask that covers your nose, mouth and chin. In addition, please adhere to social distancing and stay 6 feet from other people who are not from your household.”

While the zoo had previously been requiring masks inside indoor areas, this new mandate includes all areas of the zoo property.

Last week, Gov. DeWine announced a strengthed mask mandate, one which puts a lot of pressure on business owners who are already feeling the stress of the pandemic in the difficult position of confronting anti-maskers in their businesses.

Businesses must now have a sign about the mask requirement near their front entrance and must enforce the mask mandate. A retail compliance unit will be monitoring for violations. The first violation is a warning, while a second violation could force businesses to close for up to 24 hours.

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