Gov. Mike DeWine announced new mask requirements for seven counties, including Montgomery and Butler, listed as having a higher risk of coronavirus exposure and spread.
>> Coronavirus Alert Levels: What do they mean?
The requirement begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will last as long as the seven counties are in Level 3 or 4 of the governor’s new alert system.
“What’s going on in those counties is very frightening,” DeWine said. “But the good news is we can fight back.”
Masks are required when inside any location that is not a residence and when people are outside and unable to maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet apart from others who are not in their household.
Face masks must also be worn while waiting for and using public transportation, as well as taxis, ride-sharing vehicles or a private car service.
>> Coronavirus: Montgomery, Butler counties among those at very high risk of virus exposure
The order will reflect mask guidelines previously issued for employees and businesses, said DeWine.
People are not required to wear a mask if their physician advises against it, if it is prohibited by federal regulations, while communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired or when alone in a personal workspace.
Schools in those seven counties should continue to follow guidelines issued by the governor last week.
As with previous health orders, not following a mask order will be a misdemeanor violation, DeWine said.
“We’re not looking to see people arrested,” he said. “The idea is that it is the norm. This is what is needed for Ohioans to stay safe.”
The announcement after the governor unveiled a new alert system on the risk of coronavirus exposure and spread in each county last week.
The system is based off four levels based off seven data indicators. The more indicators a county meets, the higher the severity level.
As of June 30, none of the counties in Ohio met enough indicators to be in Level 4, the most severe level.
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On Friday, a mask mandate went into effect in Dayton. Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Yellow Springs are among other Ohio communities that require face masks.