As guidelines relax, where do and don't you need to mask up in the Tri-State?

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Posted at 4:50 PM, May 13, 2021

As state and federal agencies this week rapidly began dialing back health orders and other pandemic-related guidelines, business owners like Danny Scott, who owns Fishbowl at The Banks in Cincinnati, said they felt a little blind-sided but also relieved.

"I didn't expect it to go down like this. I didn't expect it to happen this fast," Scott told WCPO. "Definitely shock, excitement, every other emotion you can think of."

The last week has seen a string of announcements from health officials updating the masking and social distancing mandates first put into place roughly a year ago.

Here's a breakdown of where Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky stand as vaccinations continue:


When Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday he would lift most statewide health orders by June 2 -- including the indoor mask mandate and capacity restrictions at businesses, events and venues -- Scott called it welcome news.

"We're going to get rid of these ugly barriers, finally, after all this time," he said, referring to measures he took to help shield customers from close contact with others while visiting his business.

Tracy Schwegmann, with The Banks, called the news "refreshing to finally have an end-date and that folks can begin to plan again and get back to some normal operations."

During his address Wednesday, DeWine stressed that the decision to require masks or impose capacity limits and social distancing rules will remain up to local businesses, institutions or school districts to decide.

"Businesses are able to set up their own guidelines for who they let into their business or not," said Mike Samet, with Hamilton County Public Health. "It's very similar to the 'No shirt, no shoes, no service.'"


About a week prior to DeWine's announcement, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that he would increase restaurants, bars and venues' capacity limits, both indoors and outdoors, and the statewide curfew on those businesses would not apply as of Friday, May 28.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday they were relaxing its guidance for mask-wearing for vaccinated people -- those who are fully protected no longer need to wear a mask indoors, the health agency said -- Beshear said he had updated the state's mask guidance to reflect the CDC's, effective immediately.


To the west, in Indiana, Gov. Eric Holcomb removed the statewide mask mandate in March, leaving it up to local jurisdictions and businesses to decide whether to enforce capacity limits, social distancing or masking requirements.

Holcomb's current order still requires masking and social distancing in all state government buildings.