YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown’s new rules requiring most of us to wear masks when out in public in the city goes into effect Monday.
Mayor Tito Brown signed the executive order Monday morning.
Even before it went into effect, Youngstown’s health commissioner, Erin Bishop, was passing out free masks to local businesses.
“We’re giving everybody a box of 50 to start out with,” she said.
Proctor and Gamble donated more than 26,000 masks to the city and health workers distributed them to shops, restaurants and convenience stores to make sure their customers had access to face coverings.
“Now they can say, ‘Hey, if you don’t have one, here’s one.’ They don’t have to charge anybody and I think it gives them a little bit of a peace of mind,” Bishop said.
Face coverings are required in indoor areas accessible to the public and within the confines of public or private business transportation.
Examples of such places include:
- Retail businesses – Retail businesses must have all workers wear face coverings when they are or may be within six feet of another person. Retail businesses must require that all customers wear face coverings when they are inside the business and may be within six feet of another person, unless the customer states an exception applies.
- Restaurants and bars – Restaurants and bars must have all workers wear face coverings when they are or may be within six feet of another person. They must require that all customers wear face coverings when they are inside the business and may be within six feet of another person, unless the customer states an exception applies.
Religious facilities and facilities owned and operated by the state of Ohio and the federal government are exempt from the executive order, but they are encouraged to follow its mandates.
The executive order does not require face coverings for a worker, customer or patron who:
- Should not wear a face covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability, including but not limited to any person who has trouble breathing, is unconscious or incapacitated or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without help
- Is under the age of 6
- Is actively eating or drinking
- Is strenuously exercising
- Is communicating with a hearing-impaired person
- Is giving a speech
- Is working at home or in a personal vehicle
The order is in effect until further notice and may be modified or extended at any time if the public health conditions warrant such action.
The Ohio Revised Code provided that a failure to adhere to this order shall subject the violator to penalties that could include a fine of no more than $100.
On Friday, the mayor announced he would require people to wear masks in public spaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Apparently, the message got through. For the most part, those we saw out and about Monday were following the new guideline, even if they didn’t necessarily like it.
“I think it’s OK because it keeps us safe,” Michael Childs said. “Especially people with kids and then the elderly people, it makes it a lot easier. Stop the passing of the COVID.”
Others who may have been wearing masks for weeks think making it mandatory for everyone just makes sense.
“I feel safer wearing it, especially in places that I’m unfamiliar with or around older people. My parents are in their 70s,” Rochelle Bellino said.
In the end, health officials hope masking up now will avoid the need for even harsher restrictions in the weeks to come.