The Dayton City Commission has unanimously voted to pass an ordinance that requires the use of face coverings in public places — that is any enclosed area with people present. The law goes into effect at 8 a.m. Friday, July 3. Those who violate the ordinance can receive a fine of $85.
You can read the full mask ordinance at daytonohio.gov.
The city opted for this measure after Montgomery County, where Dayton is located, saw a surge in COVID-19 cases — an increase that has been singled out by not only Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine as being a concern, but also Vice President Mike Pence and the White House task force. A similar spike is occurring in Hamilton County.
"I know that no one is excited about wearing a mask. I know that wearing a mask is uncomfortable. I know that, unfortunately, wearing a mask has become a political flash point," tweeted Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. "But I also know that masks save lives. Masks are incredibly effective in reducing the spread of this virus. Masks are a small sacrifice that we can all make to take care of one another AND to keep our businesses open as we continue to weather this storm."
The ordinance "does not apply to individuals with medical conditions, mental health conditions, or a developmental disability," says an FAQ page, or those under 6 years old. And the page directs people to the CDC guidelines for mask use.
The law says you don't have to wear a mask if you are outside and can social distance at least 6 feet from people who are not in your household (note: if you are waiting in line to enter a business, you do have to wear a mask). Mask use is also not required in a religious facility, however, it is strongly recommended.
Other times you don't have to wear a mask (as listed in the ordinance):
- When you are seated in a restaurant or bar and eating or drinking
- When you're swimming
- If you are actively exercising somewhere indoors, like a gym, and are maintaining social distance
- In your office or workspace area that is not intended for the general public
- Inside your car (note: you do have to wear a mask on public transit)
- If you're job prevents it — like if you're a firefighter or emergency responder
Gov. DeWine issued his support of Dayton's decision in a statement:
"I support Mayor Whaley and the Montgomery County Commissioners' decision to require the use of masks in public places. It's an appropriate and welcome response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in their area. Masks are recommended by the CDC and medical professionals to help protect other people. Wearing a mask will allow us to help keep businesses open and help prevent further spikes. I encourage other communities to consider following Dayton and Montgomery County's lead."