WYOMING, Ohio — The city of Wyoming may soon become the latest area city to adopt a mask mandate in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. City council members met virtually Monday night to discuss the idea.
Some stores in Wyoming’s business district have already made the change, but they say a citywide rule could make things easier on some stores so they don’t have to make their own individual rules and risk losing business.
“I’m willing to do what needs to be done to control the virus,” Wyoming resident Lori Schreiner said.
At Wyoming Community Coffee, the emphasis is equally placed on coffee and community.
“I think it’s about safety first,” Wyoming Community Coffee barista Matt Sweasy said. “We kind of believe the best thing we can do is do the best we can to keep everybody safe, take every precautionary measure.”
Most of the residents WCPO talked to said they support a mandate making masks a necessity in public spaces.
“I feel like people are respectful of others and want to be considerate,” Schreiner said.
Monday night’s special Wyoming City Council meeting included healthcare professionals, police, and members of the general public.
Details of exactly how the ordinance would work, who’s exempt and how it would be enforced still need to be ironed out.
“It wouldn’t be possible for the health department to enforce a law in Wyoming because he only has 12 inspectors,” said Wyoming city council member Nancy Averett.
That would mean reporting could fall on business owners and enforcement on the Wyoming Police Department.
“I think it would be extremely difficult to enforce a penalty on an individual and to figure out which is first offense, second offense or third offense and be able to give a citation for that,” vice-mayor Al Delgado said.
While the fine details are still being debated, council members agreed a warning would precede a citation and fine. Exceptions would likely be made for children under the age of 6 and those with a medical condition that makes mask wearing unsafe.
“We’re going to have to get used to having masks on,” Schreiner said. “There’s just no way around it. It’s going to be a part of my life. I’ve just got to accept it.”
Wyoming City Council could vote on the mandate as soon as this week.