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Akron May Be Next Ohio City With A Mask Mandate

Columbus joined several other Ohio cities in requiring masks in public spaces. The Columbus mask mandate begins Friday. Akron may soon follow.

“This is about science. This is not about politics,” said Akron Ward 5 councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples.

“I think that they have politicized it so much that we are ignoring the science here, and the science says we have a problem,” said Samples.

Samples will propose an ordinance July 13 that would require people to wear masks in public places, with an exception for people with health-related issues. In addition, people would not have to wear masks if their workplace does not require it, if they are eating or outside at a safe distance from others, she said.

The mandate would apply to indoor spaces, as well as crowded places outdoors.

“If there’s a big picnic going on, or you’re out in a place where there’s a festival going on, you should have to have a mask on,” she said. “One cough could change the livelihood of you and everyone in your house.”

Samples referenced a recent surge in COVID-19 cases linked to people who visited bars and restaurants in Put-In-Bay as a reason to require masks outdoors.

“If you’re out jogging, just out on your casual jog, there’s no need for a mask. We’re talking about when you’re in public spaces around lots of people,” she said.

The punishment for not wearing a mask would be a civil penalty of $50. Samples said she will request that the money collected from the fines go into a fund to purchase masks for residents who are not able to afford masks.

Samples also would support a statewide mask mandate. “It’s just where we have to be right now until we get past this. This is about us saving lives, the lives of our parents and grandparents, and those who have underlying health issues, and that’s not too much to ask of any of us,” she said.

The Akron mayor’s office has not responded to ideastream's request for comment.

In Cleveland, the mayor’s office said there is no mask mandate at this time.

Dayton was the first major city in Ohio to approve a mask mandate, which begins Friday.

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