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Local health experts urge shoppers to wear masks as Ohio reopens

Posted at 9:12 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 23:20:43-04

CLEVELAND — Local health experts urge Northeast Ohioans to wear mask while shopping or receiving services, even though the state is no longer mandating masks for customers.

Ohio Governor MIke DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted received additional questions about coronavirus mask requirements statewide, which mandate employees where masks before a business can reopen, but placed the decision for required consumer mask use on business owners.

Costco announced it will require all customers to wear masks in its stores starting on May 4.

Dr. John Thornton, a critical care pulmonologist with MetroHealth System, told News 5 consumers need to take mask wearing seriously, required or not.

“We’ve seen a lot of people and unfortunately we’ve lost a lot of people,” Thornton said.

“I think to keep this from becoming a worse situation than it already is, I think we need to do everything we can."

“I think this is a big deal, we're not out of the woods yet, I think we still have a ways to go."

Jacqueline Hardges, who recovered from COVID-19 with few symptoms, is the owner of Hard-Away Support Services, and runs her own mobile notary business.

Hardges said she was disappointed the state retracted its mask mandate for consumers and is insisting all shoppers wear masks because a person may be carrying the virus and not even know it.

“I didn’t know that I was positive, I was with my family, I was in the house playing board games together,” Hardges said.

"I believe we should all be wearing masks and he shouldn't have changed it, it should have stayed because I really think it would have reduced a whole lot of additional cases."

“Wear your masks, I think it’s kind of simple, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Lt. Governor Husted said the state is working on a mask FAQ for businesses, and said there are exceptions under which a business can opt-out of requiring employees wear masks on the job.

Husted said if a business can prove wearing a mask sets up a potential health or safety risk, or if an employee is sitting alone in an enclosed work-space.

He said those businesses will have to provide a written justification upon request.