LANCASTER, Ohio (WCMH) — State-issued mask mandates are now in effect for two more central Ohio counties.
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., on Friday.
Franklin County had reached Level 3 earlier in the week prompting a mask mandate to go into effect there, on Wednesday.
As a result of the mandates, individuals over the age of 10-years-old are required to wear face coverings while 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 Lancaster, many Fairfield County residents were already wearing face coverings, before the mandate there went into effect.
“It’s important for everybody,” said Evan Thomas. “We all live in a community. We share pretty much everything and I think this pandemic has kind of shown how small the world actually is.”
On Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke about his hope that everyone will follow the mask orders.
“We’re not talking about throwing people in jail,” he said. “This is a law that is there to advise people of what they should do. Most people will follow the law.”
So far, 12 counties have reached Level 3, on the state’s advisory system. That means they triggered four or five of the following indicators:
- 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
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.