DAYTON, Ohio — The city of Dayton has approved an ordinance mandating its residents wear face masks while out in public.
The city commission approved the measure unanimously on Wednesday at the urging of Mayor Nan Whaley, according to 3News sister station WDTN. It will officially go into effect Friday morning at 8 a.m.
"Masks are incredibly effective in reducing the spread of this virus," Whaley said on Twitter. "Masks are a small sacrifice that we can all make to take care of one another AND to keep our businesses open as we continue to weather this storm."
Dayton has been named as one of several Ohio communities to see a spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, and health experts say a big reason for the increase is people not following social distancing and health guidelines. Nearly all professionals agree wearing masks in public can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but despite overwhelming evidence, the issue has become greatly polarized along political lines.
The city ordinance specifically calls for the wearing of masks at all places of business, while riding public transportation, or in areas where social distancing is more difficult. Violators can face a fine of up to $85, although there are certain exceptions, mainly for young children or citizens with certain medical conditions. Details regarding the new rules can be seen in the copy of the ordinance below:
Gov. Mike DeWine has bucked several members of his own Republican party by continuing to advocate for the wearing of face masks, although he did walk back an earlier order that would've mandated them throughout Ohio. However, he did on Wednesday voice his support for Whaley's proposals in Dayton, and urged other local governments to take similar action:
"I support Mayor Whaley's and Dayton's decision to require the use of masks in public places. It’s an appropriate and welcome response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in their area. Masks are recommended by the CDC and medical professionals to help protect other people. Wearing a mask will allow us to help keep businesses open and help prevent further spikes. I encourage other communities to consider following Dayton's lead."
The Ohio Department of Health reported 1,076 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, the largest 24-hour spike since Apr. 20. While this is partly due to increased testing, the state's positivity rate has increase to 5.3% from its low of 3.1% back on June 8, and hospitalization numbers are also trending upward.