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Akron councilwoman to propose making face masks mandatory in public

The face coverings debate continues in Ohio with Columbus now joining the city of Dayton in the move to make wearing masks mandatory in public.

AKRON, Ohio — On Thursday, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther signed an executive order that makes wearing face coverings mandatory in public. 

It comes just one day after Dayton became the first major city in the state to require face masks in public. The move is something Governor Mike DeWine supports. He's even encouraging other communities to follow the lead.

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Akron councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples has joined in, working to introduce an ordinance that would require people to wear a mask when in public places.

"For the safety of others," she explains to 3News. "Until we have a vaccination and until the pandemic comes off this surge that’s going on, everyone should want to do this."

There are details that still need to be worked out in the Akron ordinance, but Samples tells us the measure is expected to be introduced to city council on July 13th.

In Dayton, not wearing a mask could result in an $85 dollar fine. There are some exceptions --- like for those who are not able to wear one due to health concerns.

A city of Akron spokeswoman says Mayor Dan Horrigan is looking at whether a mandatory mask order is necessary based on the latest numbers surrounding COVID-19 cases. But they also went on to say that “everyone who is medically able to wear a mask in public should do so.”

Here is the complete statement from the city to 3News:

Mayor Horrigan is analyzing current trends and data around COVID-19 cases in Akron, and whether a mandatory mask order may be necessary to protect public health and our economy.  He is actively consulting with Summit County Public Health and talking to his peer mayors across the state, and country to determine best practices.  

One thing is clear – everyone who is medically able to wear a mask in public should do so.  Wearing masks saves lives, and will help us keep the economy open and moving.  Increasing access to quality masks and prioritizing education about their effectiveness is essential, but enforcement of a mandatory order may be an appropriate step to protecting our residents, and particularly those most vulnerable to serious complications or death from COVID-19.  Mayor Horrigan will be working with City Council to make a data-driven decision. 

 The question is not about whether masks are helpful: we know they are.  It’s about finding the right approach to get residents to use them consistently and effectively.  

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