COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus Public Health is recommending that the cities of Columbus and Worthington end their mask requirements on Monday, March 7.
“The pandemic is not over, but the situation has changed, and we are in a new phase,” Dr. Mysheika Roberts, health commissioner, said Monday. “It is time to turn our efforts to minimizing the impact COVID-19 has on our health, our healthcare systems, and our community while focusing our efforts on protecting those who are most at risk of severe illness.”
The recommendation follows one last week from the CDC that masks are no longer necessary in areas where the risk to hospitals is at a low or medium level. That includes Columbus, Franklin County, and many counties in central Ohio.
During a Columbus City Council meeting Monday, Roberts said having council vote on the mask requirement at its next meeting March 7 to make sure the county’s CDC community level has not changed.
“By waiting 10 days from when they first made us medium until I suggest we lift the mask mandate, if we maintain that, I feel comfortable lifting the mask mandate,” she said.
“We wanted to get out in front of this as quickly as possible so folks understand there is an end in sight and that we still ask for you to be safe, to practice wearing your mask,” Columbus City Councilmember Shayla Favor said.
On Monday, Franklin County Public Health rescinded its mask advisory. However, Columbus’ mask mandate supersedes the advisory, meaning masks are still required for indoor spaces within city limits.
Columbus has mask orders enacted by Mayor Andrew Ginther and city council last September, when Worthington also enacted theirs. In general, the orders require masks to be worn indoors in areas accessible to the public or on public transportation.
Council is scheduled to take up the city’s mask mandate during a meeting March 7.
Also at the meeting, Columbus City Schools Board President Jennifer Adair spoke to the council on a different topic but did say the community may find out more Tuesday about what the district is going to do with masks.