AKRON, Ohio — The city of Akron wants to do their part in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.
On Monday night, Akron City Council passed legislation that prohibits large private gatherings and requires face coverings at small private gatherings in the city.
The private gathering ordinance will be in effect for at least 30 days and specifies that "no residential property owner or family in the City shall host more than 6 guests at a gathering."
Guests include anyone who does not permanently reside in the home, even close family members who reside elsewhere. For example, if five people live in your household, the maximum gathering you'd be permitted to host is 11 people (including six outside guests).
The new legislation takes effect immediately and will be enforced by Summit County Public Health with support from the Akron Police Department.
Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan introduced the legislation.
“As Mayor, my highest responsibility is to protect the safety and well-being of the citizens of Akron,” Horrigan said in a statement. “Limiting private gatherings will help keep Akron businesses open, help get our kids back into the classroom sooner, and most importantly, save lives. Reducing contact with immediate family and friends is an enormous sacrifice for many of us, but we cannot let our guard down even around those we know and love. While it may feel safe, the data shows that COVID is spreading rapidly during family and social gatherings. Holiday celebrations must look different this year. This is the first year that my extended family will not be gathering all together to celebrate Thanksgiving, but I know that it’s the right thing to do to keep my loved ones and our community safe.”
Violators of the ordinance may be subject to a $250 fine.
In a statement from Grace Wakulchik, President and CEO of Akron's Children's Hospital:
“Those of us in healthcare are watching with increasing concern the current surge, and worrying about our hospital systems’ abilities to handle additional volumes. Despite our planning, ongoing discussions and cooperation between hospitals, current volumes and the upward trend we are seeing in COVID cases are cause for great concern. Your healthcare workers want to be ready for you and your loved ones should you need us. Please limit your gatherings, wear masks consistently and social distance."
Below are the details of Akron’s temporary Private Gathering Ordinance (until December 16th):
- Large private gatherings are prohibited:
- No residential property owner or family in the City shall host more than 6 guests at a gathering
- Guests include anyone who does not permanently reside in the home, even close family members who reside elsewhere.
- Small private gatherings are permitted with restrictions:
- For small gatherings with 6 or fewer guests – masks must be worn at all times when a non-resident is in the same room or within six feet, unless an exception applies.
- Exceptions include: individuals under 10 years old, when actively eating a meal, those who should not wear a mask due to a medical condition, or when outdoors and maintaining 6 feet of social distancing, etc.
Ohio has set multiple records for COVID-19 infections in recent weeks, the largest of which currently stands at 8,071 new cases set back on Friday, Nov. 13. Ohio’s second-largest day for new cases brought 7,853 on Sunday, Nov. 15.
The United States, meanwhile, has now passed 11 million total coronavirus infections.
You can watch the Akron City Council meeting in the player below: