CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson signed an order Friday that requires citizens to wear masks or face coverings throughout the city, and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced his intent to bring legislation to Cuyahoga County Council next week mandating the use of masks across the county’s public spaces in an effort to mitigate the increasing spread of COVID-19. .
The order in Cleveland, effective immediately, requires all individuals out in public to wear a mask or face covering, including at restaurants and other businesses.
When asked, Jackson said that there are no exemptions given under the order, even for those with medical conditions or for young children, but said that the city will do their best to use discretion while enforcing the order.
Under the order, all bars, restaurants and entertainment venues will be required to reduce their maximum capacity to 50% of allowable capacity and must follow social distancing guidelines set by the state.
Businesses who fail to comply with the order and receive two violations of being overcapacity will be shut down, the city said.
In an attempt to prevent mass gatherings of 10 or more people, the city will be citing groups larger than 10 who gather without wearing masks or face coverings.
If an establishment has an employee or customer who tests positive, the establishment must be sanitized to the standards of the Cleveland Health Department. If they fail to do so, they will be shut down, the city said.
Jackson said police and health officials will be enforcing the order, but citations can not be issued until legislation passes at the July 15 Cleveland City Council meeting.
The city of Cleveland will submit legislation to issue fines for violators of the order. If passes the fines will include:
- Employees of a business who fail to wear a mask will be issued a $50 citation. Customers and guests who fail to wear masks will be issued a $25 citation.
- Businesses that fail to facilitate social distancing will be fined $3,000 for the first instance and $5,000 for each subsequent violation. Businesses that fail to follow capacity orders will be fined $3,000 for the first violation and $5,000 for each additional violation.
- Residents who hold gatherings of 10 or more people and do not wear masks will be issued a $150 citation for the first incident and $300 for each additional incident.
- Individuals who do not wear a mask inside ride-sharing vehicles will be issued a $50 fine.
“The spike in coronavirus cases across the City of Cleveland warrants the mandated use of masks,” said Mayor Jackson. “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.”
The order in Cleveland will be in effect until July 31 at 11:59 p.m.
On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state had created a color-coded Public Health Advisory Alert System to help state and community leaders collect information that they can layer with enhanced safety measures to combat flare-ups and case increases in an area.
Cuyahoga County is currently under a Level 3 Public Emergency.
The four levels include:
- Level 1 - Yellow: Zero or one indicator have been flagged active spread exposure, All current health guidelines to be followed as ordered.
- Level 2 - Orange: Two or three indicators have been flagged, there is an increased risk for exposure and spread.
- Level 3 - Red: Four or five indicators have been flagged, there is a very high risk for exposure and spread. Ohioans should limit activities when possible and wear a mask in public.
- Level 4 - Purple: Six to seven indicators have been flagged, there is severe exposure and spread. Residents in these counties should stay home as much as possible.
Cuyahoga County has been flagged in four key indicators that determine the COVID-19 emergency level, including new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, high proportion of sustained increase in emergency room visits and sustained increase in outpatient visits.
“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,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “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.”
The mask mandate across Cuyahoga County will not be in effect until the legislation passes Cuyahoga County Council.
Shortly after signing the order in Cleveland, Jackson received support from the governor as DeWine took to Twitter calling his actions to slow the spread of COVID-19, "the right move."