OHIO — Dayton officials reinstated an indoor mask mandate Wednesday through an ordinance approved by the City Commission.
Mayor Nan Whaley said it is unfortunate that masks are once again necessary, but she expressed optimism that the ordinance will allow the city to stay open.
“Most people do not enjoy wearing a mask, but we know they work,” Whaley said. “It's shocking to me how well they work, frankly.”
Public Health–Dayton & Montgomery County recommended on Sept. 9 that local governments mandate face coverings due to recent increases in cases and hospitalizations.
The COVID-19 case rate in Montgomery County is the highest of Ohio’s 10 largest counties, according to the Ohio Department of Health. In the last week, the county reported 2,595 cases.
The mask mandate, which is effective immediately, applies to residents 6 and older, with exceptions for medical conditions. The city’s ordinance does not require that individuals wear masks while dining or exercising.
Commissioner Matt Joseph said Dayton-area hospital officials told them Wednesday that emergency rooms and ICUs are nearing capacity. Joseph said Dayton needed to take action to reduce the number of COVID-19 hospital patients.
Director of the City Commission Office Torey Hollingsworth said the ordinance is similar to the mask mandate that was passed in July 2020. However, the noticeable difference is there isn't a statewide mask mandate in effect.
Dayton police are responsible for investigating complaints. The penalty to individuals is a fine up to $85.
The requirement applies to indoor spaces that are open to the public, which does not include private offices, Hollingsworth said.