Governor Announces Masks Requirement in Ohio Counties Hit Hardest by Coronavirus

Governor DeWine announced a new public health order that will require individuals in seven counties to wear a mask while in public. The counties this order will apply to are those considered a level three or four public emergency by Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System. 

Currently, the seven counties impacted by this order are Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery and Trumbull.

In his press conference, Gov. DeWine signaled the order – which goes into effect at 6:00pm on July 8 – applies to everyone above the age of 10 years old and mandates masks are worn by individuals who are in an indoor location, using public transportation including ride sharing vehicles and outside if social distancing guidelines cannot be followed.

The governor’s announcement follows public health orders issued by cities throughout Ohio who recently enacted their own mask requirement that may be more stringent than what the state’s order asks. It is not clear if the state’s public health order will preempt these local decrees, but employers may still have to comply with various local government orders which would become an administrative burden on business owners.

Despite the new mask requirements, Gov. DeWine said the current guidelines for wearing masks in the workplace will remain the same. This means employers do not have to require employees to wear a mask if there are health concerns, against documented industry best practices, prohibited by law, violates a company’s safety policy or if an employee is working alone in an enclosed workspace.

This new order – like previous orders – will be enforced by local health officials and law enforcement and is punishable by a misdemeanor violation.

At the Ohio Chamber, we will continue monitoring public health orders and executive orders from the DeWine administration so that we can keep our members informed about any potential impact they may have on their business.