CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said Saturday's playoff showdown between the Bengals and the Raiders at Paul Brown Stadium should be safe for attendees who are fully vaccinated, boosted and wearing a mask.
He said he will be tailgating and enjoying the game himself, but he plans to wear a mask through all of the festivities.
"I'm a massive Bengals fan, I'm incredibly proud of the team's accomplishment, winning the AFC North and hosting a game against Las Vegas," he said. "I'll be tailgating outside. While tailgating, I'll be wearing a mask. I'll be attending the game in the open air and while attending the game, I'll be wearing a mask."
He made the comments after a press conference on Wednesday in which he announced a new emergency order mandating mask-wearing for all City of Cincinnati employees and inside all city facilities.
"Look, if you are vaccinated, if you are boosted, if you are wearing a mask, going to the Bengals game should be a safe activity if you've taken the responsible precautions to do those things," he said.
Hamilton County and Cincinnati have been grappling with a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have left area hospitals full and struggling to keep up. On Tuesday, the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners declared a county-wide state of emergency as a result of rising COVID-19 cases in the region.
The county's rate of positive cases per 100K people tripled in the last three weeks and ranks among the 10 most infectious county rates in the state, according to Ohio Department of Health data.
Most of the patients in intensive care units across the state have COVID-19, and most of those patients are not vaccinated.
"If you are unvaccinated, you are putting yourself at risk and your are putting the community at risk," said Pureval. "We're seeing in our hospitals over 90% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. This is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated."