COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Franklin County Public Health announced Monday that it will be rescinding the county’s universal mask advisory.

In a statement released Monday, the advisory is dropped immediately and affects schools, employers, and other public indoor settings throughout the county. However, since the county only ever issued an advisory and not a mandate, if a mask mandate is in place, like the one in Columbus, it supersedes the county’s advisory.

“The threat of COVID-19 is not over. However, the guidance provided by CDC collectively gives us a path forward as we continue to be responsive to the needs of our community,” the county’s statement reads.

The move comes as Columbus Public Health announced Monday it was recommending the city drop its mask mandate as well.

With the dropping of the advisory, FCPH is pushing for residents five and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots.

The county’s full statement is below:

On Friday, February 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its framework to monitor the level of COVID-19 in communities. This framework moves beyond case rates and test positivity to evaluate factors that reflect the severity of disease, including hospitalizations and hospital capacity.

Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) has been consistent with its mask advisories during the last two years aligning with CDC guidance, the Ohio Department of Health, and local metrics. Based on its new framework, CDC has determined the risk in Franklin County to be “yellow.” The state health department has adopted this new framework as the standard here in Ohio. As such, FCPH is rescinding its universal mask advisory for all residents, including schools, employers, and other public indoor settings throughout our community. FCPH strongly encourages all individuals who may be at higher risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19 (e.g. immunocompromised or unvaccinated) to consider continuing to mask when in public. We encourage everyone to support an individual’s choice of masking with empathy and kindness so FCPH will continue our messaging to Spread Love, Not COVID.

FCPH urges all residents five years of age and older to get vaccinated and receive their booster dose when eligible. Vaccine clinics are readily available throughout our community. Testing will also remain a high priority. Residents who are symptomatic should stay home and get tested right away to ensure appropriate and timely care is provided as needed. Finally, anyone positive for COVID-19 must continue to follow the isolation protocols as determined by the state.

The threat of COVID-19 is not over. However, the guidance provided by CDC collectively gives us a path forward as we continue to be responsive to the needs of our community. We thank all of our residents, elected officials, superintendents, and other community leaders who continue to take the necessary steps and actions to protect the health of our community.

Franklin County Public Health