COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a mask mandate for seven Ohio counties that are classified at Level 3 under the state’s Public Health Advisory Alert System.
Franklin, Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery, Huron, Cuyahoga, and Trumbull have all reached Level 3 (out of 4 levels), which means that have all triggered four to five of the following seven indicators, among other factors:
- New cases per capita
- Sustained increase in new cases
- Proportion of cases that are not congregated cases
- Sustained increase in emergency room visits
- Sustained increase in outpatient visits
- Sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions
- Intensive care unit bed occupancy
As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, people in those seven counties are required to wear a mask “primarily when they are in a public place inside,” DeWine stated.
People 10-years-old and up are required to wear masks in the seven counties in the following situations:
- When they are in any indoor location that is not a residence
- When they are outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household
- When they are waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private care service, or a ride-sharing vehicle
In a county that is classified at a Level 3 by the Ohio Department of Health, the risk of exposure and spread is very high, residents are asked to limit activities as much as possible, and to follow all current health orders.
DeWine said the order will stay in place as long as counties are in a Level 3 or if they increase to the Purple Alert Level 4.
The Ohio Department of Health will update county rankings every Thursday. Any county that increases to Red Alert Level 3 will automatically be included in the face-covering mandate. Any county that decreases from Red Alert Level 3 to Orange Alert Level 2 will automatically be released from the face-covering requirement.
Failure to wear a mask in Level 3 and Level 4 counties can result in a misdemeanor charge by law enforcement.
“If 75 or 80% of the people in the state of Ohio wear a mask when they’re out, we will dramatically kick this virus in the stomach,” DeWine added.
The order does not require a person to wear a mask if their doctor advises against it or if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulation, if communicating with the hearing impaired, DeWine said.