As Ohio COVID-19 health order ends, Columbus’ mask mandate remains

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – With Ohio’s COVID-19 health order now lifted, including the state mask mandate, there is still a mask mandate in Columbus.

So, mask or no mask? Even once the state’s health orders are gone, the answer to that question may be different depending on where you are.

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In the order dropping the state health rules, there is a clause that says it is not meant to supersede any local order that may be stricter. In the case of Columbus’ mask ordinance, the City Attorney’s office said it is still in effect until city council repeals it.

“It does seem surprising that the considerations would be different for the state than they are for the city,” said Columbus resident Justin D’Arms.

Starting Wednesday, there will no longer be a state mask mandate. However, Columbus’s mask ordinance remains in effect.

“I don’t know whether to think the state is relaxing these things prematurely or the city should be relaxing them since the state is, but it does seem odd to me that there would be a disconnect of that sort,” D’Arms said.

“I think any time there’s a state policy that differs from a city policy, it’s potentially confusing,” said Columbus resident Lisa Floman.

This puts Barrel and Taps in an interesting position. The bourbon bar sits in Columbus, but anything just across the street is not part of the Capital City.

“Across the street, we have customers that will be following the Grandview side and masks are optional, versus here just across the street,” said Barrel and Taps co-owner Carlos Domingo. “On the other side of the railroad tracks, we still need to wear our masks.”

Domingo said as long as the Columbus ordinance is in place, he’ll ask his staff to mask up. Some bars, restaurants, and stores in the city have already decided masks are optional for employees. 

As for enforcement of Columbus’ mask order, a spokesperson for Columbus Public Health said, “We continue to inspect our licensees as we have always done with less attention to COVID health orders now.”

Columbus City Council is set to discuss the city’s mask ordinance at Monday’s meeting, a spokesperson said.

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