COLUMBUS (WCMH) — This is the first weekend Gov. Mike DeWine’s mask mandate is in effect for Franklin County.
It’s all about slowing the spread of the coronavirus as case numbers continue to rise.
Under the mandate, people are required to wear a mask inside public places and outside when social distancing is not possible.
On Saturday in downtown Columbus, it appears most people are following the mandate.
And in case people forget, a lot of businesses have signs up reminding them to wear a mask. If someone won’t wear a mask, many businesses are offering them to potential customers.
Even a lot of people are wearing them when walking out and about, a change from a couple weeks ago.
Then, it seemed like many people weren’t masking up when going from store to store. Today, many people are.
But even if they’re not wearing it, they’ve got it around their ears or in their hands ready to put on.
“We just want to do our part and be responsible and help keep other people safe,” said Claire Komarek, who wore her mask to pick up dinner.
While it’s not required to wear the masks outside when six feet of social distancing is possible, many people were anyway.
“For the most part, I’ve seen a bunch of people wearing their masks,” Komarek said. “It’s nice to see everyone doing their part to help keep the community safe.”
Inside businesses, a few managers said most people have not given them any problems following the mask mandate.
“There’s been no major attitude or difficult situations,” said Kevin Van Order, manager of Artisan De Luxe. “I think everybody is in it together, we’re all trying to move forward just one day at a time and, hopefully throughout the summer, things will slow down with the spike and we’ll all be getting back to some sense of normalcy.”
“We constantly see people walking by and the amount of people I see actually wearing masks that aren’t coming into the store has gone up,” said Michael Ybanez, store manager at Columbus Running Company.
Many businesses said since the mandate from the governor went into effect on Wednesday, more people have been wearing masks.
“Without sounding cliche, it’s becoming more of a normal thing,” Van Order said. “People are doing it.”
They’re glad most seem to be following it this weekend, too.
“I think people are starting to realize this is the new normal and this is what is expected whenever you’re out in public,” Ybanez said.
DeWine issued the mask mandate for seven Ohio counties after they showed a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
The mandate states a mask or face covering must be worn 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 car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle
Pickaway and Fairfield counties were moved to Level 3 on the state’s Public Health Advisory Alert System, which caused the issuance of the mask mandates. They both began at 6:00 p.m. Friday.
The mask orders do not require a person to wear a mask if their doctor advises against it, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulation, or if one is communicating with the hearing impaired.
A lot of businesses said that as each weekend passes, they are seeing more and more people out and about, adding they want to see that continue, and to keep seeing those people wear masks when and where they are required.