Mayor Justin Bibb has issued a mask advisory, effective immediately, that strongly encourages everyone to mask up indoors through the end of the month.
Bibb, who has vocally encouraged masking and vaccination to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, appeared with Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval earlier this month to plug vaccinations and ask for additional state resources.
In that press conference, he said that his new Covid-19 task force, made up of Cleveland's medical, community and faith leaders, would meet for the first time Wednesday, Jan. 12, to discuss actions Cleveland might take in response to an explosive surge of the Omicron variant.
One of its primary focuses, Bibb said, would be to design and implement messaging strategies to promote vaccination in communities of color, where vax rates are extremely low.
“COVID-19 cases are rising across the city and the health and safety of our community is a top priority,” Bibb said on Jan. 6. “This taskforce will advise us on strategies and public policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, encourage vaccinations, and promote awareness of available resources.”
It is now Jan. 21. The mask advisory was a recommendation of the task force after its second meeting, Bibb's Comms Director, Sarah Johnson, confirmed. The advisory will not be enforced, but represents a strong reminder that masking up inside is important. In some buildings, like City Hall, masking is already mandated, but this is for all buildings in the City of Cleveland.
The advisory arrives as Covid cases and hospitalizations are plummeting in Northeast Ohio after a spike in early January. The community testing site in University Circle is also closing after this weekend due to decreased demand
The advisory will be revisited on Feb. 1. Johnson said that the task force is meeting weekly and will have further announcements next week about its plan to increase vaccination rates across Cleveland.
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