Cuyahoga County Reinstates Masking Requirement at Offices and Courts as Covid Cases Rise

click to enlarge Cuyahoga County Reinstates Masking Requirement at Offices and Courts as Covid Cases Rise
YouTube screenshot: @CuyahogaCounty


Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish signed an Executive Order Tuesday reinstating a masking requirement in all county buildings.

The order was signed due to rising Covid case counts in the region — the CDC upgraded Cuyahoga County from "medium" to "high" community transmission this weekend and recommended wearing masks indoors — and will be in effect "until the emergency no longer exists."

"I know nobody wants to go back to mask mandates," Budish said in a press release Tuesday, "but this executive order is a necessary measure to help keep both visitors to our buildings and our employees better protected against the virus." 

The order applies to all visitors at county buildings and to employees when they are in common areas or in workspaces within six feet of common areas where there are no barriers surrounding the workspace.

The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Presiding Judge Brendan Sheehan followed suit, issuing an order mandating masks in county courts as well.

“Though I am disappointed that we have returned to a High community level so soon, I know that we are taking the best action to keep ourselves as healthy as possible," Sheehan said in a statement provided by the court.  "As a Court, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have always followed the science. Health experts in our own community and internationally agree that masking works to decrease the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and that vaccination decreases the severity of the virus. Both are necessary to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in our community."

Masks will be mandatory for all staff and members of the public when inside court facilities.

The current BA.2 Covid variant, also known as the "stealth" Omicron variant, is highly contagious, but not especially severe. While case counts have risen significantly in recent weeks, (up 76% in Cuyahoga County in the two weeks preceding this weekend's CDC designation), hospitalizations and deaths have remained steady.

***
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.