City of Cleveland Mandates Masks in Public Spaces, Including Businesses and Restaurants, Effective Immediately

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click to enlarge Frank Jackson (5/4/2020). - Cleveland City Hall Facebook Live Video
Cleveland City Hall Facebook Live Video
Frank Jackson (5/4/2020).
Mayor Frank Jackson tonight announced masks are now required in public in the city of Cleveland to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. This includes offices, businesses and restaurants.

COVID-19 infections have been climbing across the country. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has thus far resisted imposing mandatory mask regulations on certain counties, though the cities of Dayton and Columbus have taken action on their own.

“The spike in coronavirus cases across the City of Cleveland warrants the mandated use of masks,” Mayor Jackson said in a press release. “If Clevelanders do not heed these critical warnings and prevention efforts, the effects will be disastrous to the economy and, most importantly, to individuals and families. No one is immune to this virus.”

To put a fine point on the situation: "The City of Cleveland strongly urges that residents do not gather for events, especially on the Fourth of July."

Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish also announced that he'll introduce legislation next week to follow suit on a regional scale.

“Cuyahoga County has been hit hard in recent weeks by an increase in COVID cases, as demonstrated in the Ohio Public Advisory Health System’s designation of a level 3 public emergency in our community,” Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said in the same release. “I am introducing this legislation to help protect all residents, especially our most vulnerable. Wearing a mask is a small sacrifice we can make to save lives and significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Cuyahoga County.”

In addition, the city announced city council will introduce proposed punishments and fines for businesses that don't abide by the requirement.

The general details below, as laid out the city.

Cleveland City Council President Kevin J. Kelley and Councilman Blaine Griffin, chair of Council’s Health & Human Services Committee, said in a joint statement: “Cleveland City Council stands behind Mayor Jackson’s decisions during this unprecedented pandemic. This important step is vital to protect all Clevelanders from this deadly virus and any legislative action needed will be taken up at our July 15 Council meeting.”

The City of Cleveland’s order states the following are effective immediately:

Mandatory masks for all individuals out in public or in public spaces including businesses, restaurants etc.

Maximum capacity at any bar, restaurant, entertainment venue cannot exceed 50% of allowable capacity and must comply with social distancing standards.

Any establishment that upon 2 incidents of violating maximum capacity order will be ordered to shut down.

Mass Gathering Orders are still in effect. If incidents of more than 10 persons are gathered not wearing masks, enforcement actions will be taken.

If an establishment has an employee or a patron, who has tested positive for Covid-19, then the establishment must be sanitized to the standards of the Cleveland Health Department, failure to demonstrate such sanitization will result in the facility being shut down.

People should not gather during the holiday, except within the social distancing and mass gathering mandates, and shall wear masks and wash their hands often.

In addition, the following guidelines will be introduced via legislation submitted to Cleveland City Council:

Social Venues (such as restaurants, bars and clubs):
a. Employees failing to wear masks

i. Employees will be issued a $50 citation for failing to wear a mask

b. Patrons failing to wear masks

i. Patrons will be issued a $25 citation for failing to wear a mask

c. Venues failing to facilitate social distancing

i. Fine of $3,000 for first instance; $5,000 for each subsequent violation

d. Businesses failing to follow occupancy limitations

i. Fine of $3,000 for first instance; $5,000 for each subsequent violation

Mass Gatherings (Residential mass gatherings) - Residents or owners be issued a $150 citation for first incident; $300 for each subsequent incident.

Ride Sharing - Treat masks like seatbelts and issue a citation with a $50 sanction for each person not wearing a mask in the automobile.

The primary City of Cleveland agencies that will be tasked with enforcing these new rules will be the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cleveland Department of Public Health. The City of Cleveland strongly urges that residents do not gather for events, especially on the Fourth of July.
Wear a mask. Practice distancing. Perhaps stay home. 

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