Dayton commission to vote Wednesday on indoor mask mandate

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton may impose an indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status.

The Dayton City Commission will vote on an ordinance Wednesday that would require face coverings in all indoor public spaces. It follows a request by Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County for municipal governments to pass such measures due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

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“Due to the lagging vaccination rates in our county, mask wearing indoors is our best defense to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the number of people being hospitalized,” Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper stated in a release announcing the ordinance vote.

Anyone not wearing a face covering in one of the required situations is subject to a fine of $85. Enforcement would be conducted on a complaint basis by business owners or employees. Members of the public should not confront or report one another, but to report it to a manager.

It allows exemptions similar to the city’s previous mask requirement, including while eating and drinking or while exercising. Also, people with medical conditions, mental health conditions or developmental disabilities that restrict or limit their ability to wear a mask are not required to wear a face covering, the release stated.

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“Case levels in Montgomery County are reaching peaks not seen since January. While we know that vaccinations are incredibly effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths, children under 12 are still unable to receive the vaccine,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley stated in a release from the city. “I appreciate my colleagues on the commission being willing to take this step to protect those unable to be vaccinated, to protect hospital capacity, and to keep businesses open even as we see new spikes in COVID-19 cases.

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“No one likes wearing masks – myself included. But this is a necessary step to keep people in Dayton safe,” Whaley said. “The last thing any of us want is a return to shutdowns, and masks in public spaces is another way to prevent that.”