Mayor Jackson & County Executive Budish to Mandate Use of Masks Throughout City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County

Photo by Pille-Riin Priske

by Tatyana McknightJuly 3, 20200 Comments

Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Mayor Frank G. Jackson today signed an order requiring the use of masks, among other things, throughout the City of Cleveland. Click here to view the order. Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced his intent to bring before Cuyahoga County Council legislation next week mandating the use of masks in the county’s public spaces.

“The spike in coronavirus cases across the City of Cleveland warrants the mandated use of masks,” said Mayor Jackson. “If Clevelanders do not heed these critical warnings and prevention efforts, the effects will be disastrous to the economy and, most importantly, to individuals and families. No one is immune to this virus.”

On July 2, the updated Ohio Public Advisory Health System indicated Cuyahoga County has a Level 3 Public Emergency, or Red, citing “very high exposure and spread.”  Cuyahoga County meets four of the five criteria for the Level Four designation including: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, high proportion of sustained increase in emergency room visits and sustained increase in outpatient visits.

“Cuyahoga County has been hit hard in recent weeks by an increase in COVID cases, as demonstrated in the Ohio Public Advisory Health System’s designation of a level 3 public emergency in our community,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “I am introducing this legislation to help protect all residents, especially our most vulnerable. Wearing a mask is a small sacrifice we can make to save lives and significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Cuyahoga County.”

Earlier this week, the City of Cleveland reported record-high numbers of coronavirus cases in the City. Eighty-four cases were reported on July 2 and 75 cases on June 28. The largest number of cases over the past seven days have been among people between the ages of 20-29.

Today, the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been notified of 47 more confirmed test results for coronavirus in city residents and no new fatalities. This brings the total to 2,535 confirmed cases in the City of Cleveland and 77 fatalities. The new confirmed cases include males and females whose ages range from under 3 years old to their 60s. CDPH is working to identify their close contacts who would require testing or monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

Cleveland City Council President Kevin J. Kelley and Councilman Blaine Griffin, chair of Council’s Health & Human Services Committee, said in a joint statement: “Cleveland City Council stands behind Mayor Jackson’s decisions during this unprecedented pandemic. This important step is vital to protect all Clevelanders from this deadly virus and any legislative action needed will be taken up at our July 15 Council meeting.”

The City of Cleveland’s order states the following are effective immediately:

  1. Mandatory masks for all individuals out in public or in public spaces including businesses, restaurants etc. 
  2. Maximum capacity at any bar, restaurant, entertainment venue cannot exceed 50% of allowable capacity and must comply with social distancing standards.
  3. Any establishment that upon 2 incidents of violating maximum capacity order will be ordered to shut down.
  4. Mass Gathering Orders are still in effect. If incidents of more than 10 persons are gathered not wearing masks, enforcement actions will be taken.
  5. If an establishment has an employee or a patron, who has tested positive for Covid-19, then the establishment must be sanitized to the standards of the Cleveland Health Department, failure to demonstrate such sanitization will result in the facility being shut down.
  6. People should not gather during the holiday, except within the social distancing and mass gathering mandates, and shall wear masks and wash their hands often.

In addition, the following guidelines will be introduced via legislation submitted to Cleveland City Council:

Social Venues (such as restaurants, bars and clubs):

a.     Employees failing to wear masks

                                                  i.     Employees will be issued a $50 citation for failing to wear a mask

b.     Patrons failing to wear masks

                                                  i.     Patrons will be issued a $25 citation for failing to wear a mask

c.      Venues failing to facilitate social distancing

                                                  i.     Fine of $3,000 for first instance; $5,000 for each subsequent violation

d.     Businesses failing to follow occupancy limitations

                                                  i.     Fine of $3,000 for first instance; $5,000 for each subsequent violation

Mass Gatherings (Residential mass gatherings) – Residents or owners be issued a $150 citation for first incident; $300 for each subsequent incident.

Ride Sharing – Treat masks like seatbelts and issue a citation with a $50 sanction for each person not wearing a mask in the automobile.

The primary City of Cleveland agencies that will be tasked with enforcing these new rules will be the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cleveland Department of Public Health. The City of Cleveland strongly urges that residents do not gather for events, especially on the Fourth of July.

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