KENT, Ohio — Local health leaders in multiple Northeast Ohio counties have issued a COVID-19 health warning, as we head into St. Patrick's Day week, and with Easter and Dyngus Day just a few weeks away.
Kent police and fire reported more than 130 calls for service during Fake Patty's Day events over the weekend, and the city health department issued 19 citations for violation of the Kent mass gathering law, limiting home events to just 10 people.
Kent police also reported 18 arrests, with 11 total disorderly conduct charges issued.
Michael Anguilano III, Kent City Health Department Public Information Officer, told News 5 the vast majority of violators were Kent State students, who are now facing a $500 fine and even a potential trip to the university student conduct board.
“There were a lot of house parties, and the weather was nice and sunny, so that escalated things even more," Anguilano said.
“A lot of activity, a lot of crowds, a lot of house parties, a lot of properties that were not abiding by the mass gathering ordinance that was put into effect.”
“And we do take this very seriously. People on the front lawn, people on a patio or porch, no masks really, I thought the masking wearing was quite poor. Not much social distancing, if any.”
“With the ordinance being in effect for several months, it should not have been a surprise that the health department was enforcing it on such a hectic day.”
“And if they’re students, their names and information are sent to Kent State and then they will go to a student conduct hearing. If the conduct board feels that it would be necessary.”
Anguilano said those facing the citation and fine can appeal the violation to the Kent city law director.
In Summit County, Summit County health commissioner Donna Skoda said her inspectors will be on the job on St. Patrick's Day, making COVID-19 compliance checks.
“Our case count has come down some, but it’s leveled off, it hasn’t continued to drop," Skoda said. “We’re still seeing about 100 to 125 cases a day.”
“This is going to be a make-or-break couple of weeks. You have Easter, you have St. Patrick’s Day. We need individuals to remember, this is not the time to take the foot off the gas with beating back COVID.”
“The worst place to be is going to be in a crowded bar, without a face mask, after drinking, loud music, people talking loudly.”
Cleveland Market Garden Brewery owner Sam McNulty told News 5 his location will open early on St. Patrick's Day, and that his team is prepared to remind patrons to follow the rules during St. Patrick's Day festivities this week.
“We’re still going to do all the protocols, all the safety, sanitizing,” McNulty said.
“If someone does feel the need to take the mask off and walk around, we’re going to gently and kindly thank them for putting the mask back on.”