Summit County Health Officials Pass County-Wide Mask Mandate

Summit County Public Health has mandated face coverings in public, in anticipation of an increase in COVID-19 cases now that some schools have reopened. [FamVeld / Shutterstock]
Summit County Public Health has mandated face coverings in public, in anticipation of an increase in COVID-19 cases now that some schools have reopened. [FamVeld / Shutterstock]
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Summit County now has its own face mask mandate.

The Summit County Board of Health passed a resolution Thursday night mandating face coverings be worn in all indoor public spaces, and outside when six feet of distancing is not possible.  

The board wanted to have its own policy in place in case the statewide mask mandate is repealed soon, said Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.  

“If the governor decides tomorrow that he doesn’t want the mask order anymore, and we know that we still have a lot of community spread, we would be able to leave that place and continue to protect our citizens,” Skoda said.

A separate mask order is needed, Skoda said, because the county is seeing about 30 to 45 new COVID-19 cases per day. That’s an increase from about ten cases per day in June, she said. 

“Most of our cases occur outside of congregate living, meaning they’re not happening because of nursing homes – they’re happening because of community spread,” she said. “And with kids going back to school, we’re seeing an increase in cases.”  

Under the new order, businesses that do not enforce the mask mandate can be fined $100, Skoda said.

The order will be enforced through citizen complaints, she said. People can report masking or social distancing violations by calling the health department or filling out a form on its website.

Health officials will reach out to businesses that have received complaints to make sure they are complying, Skoda said. If the business still does not enforce the order, then they will be fined as a last resort, she added.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has not indicated that he plans to suspend the statewide mask mandate anytime soon, Skoda said. The board has been deliberating whether to pass its own mandatory mask order for about a month.

 

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