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Government & Politics

Akron Looks to Enforce Mandatory Face Coverings as COVID-19 Cases Rise

a photo of Dan Horrigan with a mask on.
SUSAN ZAKE
/
KSU COLLABORATIVE NEWS LAB
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, shown here in a mask at a June 6, 2020 protest, says the city has been discussing a mask ordinance since March.

Akron officials are moving forward on a plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by making masks mandatory in the city and setting fines for offenders.

Masks became mandatory in Summit County Friday after the state moved it into red alert status

Mayor Dan Horrigan said the city’s ordinance has been in the works since March.

At its meeting Monday night Akron City Council is passed the ordinance with six cosigners led by Councilwoman Tara Samples and Horrigan.

Face coverings have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. A number of Ohio cities, including Dayton, Cleveland and Columbus have already mandated wearing masks.

The decision to make masks mandatory in Akron, Horrigan said, is based solely on the rising number of people infected with the virus.

“Our aim is true. It’s really about protecting public health,” he said. “It’s not a front, it’s not a political statement. We have rights and responsibilities and I think those are being confused at some point, but we have a responsibility to protect public health. And it’s not forever. Obviously there’s a vaccine on the horizon; we’re going to get there. This is just something we have to be able to tolerate for a little while and then whatever a new normal looks like post-COVID. We deal with that when it comes.”

Akron’s ordinance, posted below, requires masks be worn in all buildings open to the public and on public transportation.  

Summit County Public Health will enforce the new rule. Officials will first educate offenders before issuing fines for second offenses of $50 per individual or $250 per business.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

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