Yellow Springs drops mask mandate for downtown

Village was one of last to require indoor masking; individual businesses can still do so

The village of Yellow Springs no longer has a mask mandate indoors in its downtown area, after COVID-19 transmission rates dropped in the area.

Village manager Josué Salmerón said the mask ordinance the village had passed last August tied the mandate to transmission rates in the community, which were high at the time. Greene County now has a “low” transmission rate as determined by the Centers for Disease Control.

Yellow Springs was one of the last places that required masking in its public downtown areas indoors. Dayton, which had a mask mandate for a period last year, dropped its mask mandate last fall, and also ended its mask mandate inside city facilities last week.

The Yellow Springs zip code has one of the highest rates of vaccination against COVID-19 in the area, according to an analysis from the Dayton Daily News from last month.

Salmerón acknowledged, though, that many members of the Yellow Springs Community still want a mask mandate. Yellow Springs businesses are still able to require masks indoors if they want, and citizens are still encouraged to wear masks.

“The challenge that we’re seeing is that there are members of our community that still would like those protective measures in place,” he said.

Several council members agreed there could easily be a compromise between what the law requires and what the villagers would want.

“It seems to me that we should just let the community know that it’s OK, you don’t have to wear masks downtown,” said village council member Marianne MacQueen. “But if the business wants people to wear masks to get in that business, you need to do that.”

On Aug. 9, 2021, the village council voted for a mask mandate, citing rising COVID-19 cases, and moved their meetings to a virtual format. The village council has continued to meet virtually and allowed citizens to speak via Zoom meetings. The council also discussed whether they would continue to meet virtually but didn’t make a decision.

About the Author