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COMMISSIONERS SUPPORT REQUIRING RESIDENTS TO WEAR MASKS IN PUBLIC SETTINGS

Thursday, July 02, 2020
Contact:
Tyler Lowry, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-6630
Jodi Andes, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-5273

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Franklin County the Board of Commissioners convened an emergency meeting this evening and unanimously passed a resolution to uphold the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to wear cloth face coverings in public settings. 
 
By adopting this resolution, the Board of Commissioners support cities, townships and villages within Franklin County to pass local ordinances and emergency declarations, as allowable by law, to require residents in those communities to wear face coverings while visiting indoor settings like retail stores, restaurants and work settings.   
 
“I am encouraged our local mayors, township trustees and other leaders will take the necessary steps to make sure resident’s safety is paramount,” said Board President, John O’Grady.  “Wearing a face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has positive implications to the state and county’s economic recovery and in being able to keep businesses open.”
 
The new color-coded, four-tier warning system announced by Governor DeWine today for reporting indicators of COVID-19 ranks Franklin County at a red, level three, meaning, we meet four or five of the seven indicators which are determined by new cases per capita, a sustained increase in new cases, the proportion of cases that are not congregate, sustained increases in emergency room, outpatient visits and hospital admissions and the intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy.   Currently, no county is at the purple or four tier alert level, yet Franklin County is on a watchlist citing explosive growth in positive cases. 
 
Following other Ohio cities that passed face covering requirements, starting Friday, July 3, by order of Mayor Ginther, masks will be required in all Columbus public settings.
 
“With the increase in positive COVID-19 cases our community is facing it is imperative we consider the health and safety of all residents,” said County Commissioner Marilyn Brown.  “Ultimately, it’s our goal to slow and stop the spread of this virus and adopting the CDC guidelines for face coverings is a critical step toward restoring a healthy, thriving community.” 
 
Taking effect immediately this resolution is in full force until the public health emergency declaration of the Board of Health has been rescinded. 
 
“When you look at the public health indicators, we owe it to the residents of Franklin County to use every available tool to address and support our community,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce.  “It’s important we use our resources to make the best decisions for the public good, and if that means providing masks, then we will do everything in our power to provide PPE and other safety measures to residents.”
 
Understanding masks are an important barrier to stopping the spread of the virus, the commissioners are equipped to demonstrate their public health commitment by putting no less than 100,000 disposable masks in the hands of the Human Services Chamber and other non-profit partners for distribution as early as next week. 
 
The Franklin County Board of Public Health passed a similar resolution supporting local mandates this week.
 
“Franklin County Public Health thanks the Board of Commissioners for their continued commitment to protect all of our residents during this pandemic,” said Joe Mazzola, Franklin County Health Commissioner.  “We stand ready in support of our local municipalities to adopt local orders and actions related to wearing face coverings.”
 
The text of the resolution can be found at https://crms.franklincountyohio.gov/RMSWeb/pdfs/69185.Resolution_UpholdingCDCFacialCoverings_07July2020.pdf
 

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