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Dayton Passes Law Requiring Masks

A screenshot of the July 1, 2020 Dayton City Commission meeting that was held via videoconference.
City of Dayton
A screenshot of the July 1, 2020 Dayton City Commission meeting that was held via videoconference.

The Dayton City Commission has unanimously passed a law requiring people to wear masks. It's a dramatic attempt by the city to stem the spread of the coronavirus as the state's economy reopens.

The city ordinance goes into effect this Friday, July 3, at 8 a.m. The law requires people to cover their nose and mouth when inside public places, or even when outside when social distancing isn't possible. Failure to comply will be enforced by Dayton Police officers, who are empowered to issue $85 citations.

"Masks save lives. Masks are incredibly effective in reducing the spread of this virus," said Mayor Nan Whaley, in a prepared statement. "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."

Locations affected by the ordinance include grocery stores, retail stores, libraries, health care facilities, bars and restaurants, and public transportation. Businesses who do not directly serve the public are not required to change their practices, the city said in a press release emailed to reporters Thursday morning.

Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement that he supports Dayton's decision.

“I support Mayor Whaley's and Dayton's decision to require the use of masks in public places," the statement reads. "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 Commission says they took the action in response to concerns raised by Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County and the Ohio Department of Health about the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County.

Exceptions are made for people with medical conditions, mental health conditions, or developmental disabilities, as well as children under 6 years old.

The full ordinance is posted at daytonohio.gov/mask

At the same meeting, the Dayton City Commission also approved a $94,085 payment for ammunition for Dayton police, and $33,020.28 worth of Tasers and Taser accessories.

With additional reporting by Mike Frazier.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

Jason Saul is a public radio journalist and producer who moved to the Miami Valley to help build a new culture of nonprofit journalism here in Southwest Ohio.