Cranley: Cincinnati City Council to consider ordinance requiring masks in public

Kearney, Landsman sponsoring proposed ordinance
Posted at 10:33 AM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 21:34:57-04

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati City Council will consider an ordinance requiring people to wear masks in public places, Mayor John Cranley said.

A committee meeting will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday, followed by an 11:30 a.m. emergency meeting, as long as it is passed by the committee.

“I support an ordinance, properly constructed, to require mask wearing," Cranley said. "Masks are our best hope to keep our economy afloat and to keep people safe."

Council members Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney and Greg Landsman released a proposed ordinance Thursday night that would require people masks in public spaces and public transit.

The ordinance provides exceptions for people with medical conditions who cannot wear face masks, people who are eating at restaurants or bars and children under 6 years old, among others.

Violating the ordinance would carry a $25 penalty.

"Our goal is compliance so as to save lives, keep people safe, keep our economy open, and allow for our children and teachers to go back to school," Landsman tweeted Thursday night. "This requirement is not intended to be punitive, and we hope calls regarding noncompliance are made to our health department."

Read the ordinance in the viewer below:

Beating COVID Together -- Face Coverings (Updated) by WCPO Web Team on Scribd

Cranley and Health Commissioner Melba Moore provided an update on COVID-19 in the city Thursday morning, one day after Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley announced an ordinance requiring people to wear masks in public places. Dayton is the first major city in Ohio to require masks in public spaces.

Watch the full press conference in the player below:

Moore said masks are becoming increasingly important as officials track a spike in cases among young people. Most deaths, however, are people ages 80-99.

“Young people, mask up, six feet back. It’s important that you put your mask on when you’re out.” Moore said.

Cranley said the ordinance would have to take into consideration where people who live in poverty would be able to obtain masks. Cranley said religious needs would also have to be considered.

Cincinnati City Council Members Chris Seelbach and Greg Landsman have voiced support for requiring masks.

But Council Member Jeff Pastor said Wednesday he believes mandating Cincinnatians wear masks is "one step too far."

The committee will hash out details, such as whether the requirement should be a resolution or ordinance. The committee will also have to decide the racial impact of this, where it would apply and how it would be enforced.

For Dayton’s ordinance, the fine is civil, not criminal, and businesses are not required to enforce mask wearing.

Kroger stores in Cincinnati will provide one free mask per person at the entrance, Cranley said. The store has about 200,000 masks to hand out in case someone forgets a mask. The store will also have them in stock soon, as will other retailers like United Dairy Farmers.