UPDATE: On July 10, Dublin City Manager Dana McDaniel, with Dublin City Council support, replaced his July 3 executive order requiring face coverings in the city to align with the Ohio Department of Health’s July 8 face-covering order for Franklin County. The July 3 order went into effect July 6. The state's July 8 order mandated facial coverings in several counties, including Franklin County. The order requires residents in counties at a "red" or "purple" alert level to wear face coverings in public places and outdoors when maintaining six feet of distance from others isn’t possible. According to Dublin’s July 10 news release, the city will enforce compliance with the state order via citation “only if necessary.” The print version of this story that will appear in the July 16 edition of the ThisWeek Dublin Villager doesn't include this updated information.

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Dublin mandates masks to slow spread of coronavirus

Although Dublin’s new mask mandate includes penalties, City Manager Dana McDaniel said, leaders want to focus on encouragement and education.

“We don’t want to be aggressive in enforcement,” he said.

On July 3, McDaniel, with support from Dublin City Council, issued an executive order mandating that face coverings be worn in public throughout Dublin.

The mandate went into effect July 6, according to a news release announcing the order.

McDaniel said city code gives him the authority to declare the executive order while the city is under a state of emergency – which it has been since March 17 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“I did not do that without the support of City Council,” he said.

McDaniel said his decision was motivated from the spikes in cases of the coronavirus in Franklin County and other counties within the state. He said city leaders have heard that some people have not worn masks in retail and bar locations, where maintaining distance from others is difficult.

“We really feel that more action has to be taken,” he said.

McDaniel said he wants to balance safety, economic health and people’s need for social engagement.

“It’s a huge balancing act,” he said.

McDaniel said city leaders hope people will do the right thing, although if necessary, the city will enforce the mandate due to repeated offenses.

According to Dublin’s city code, the penalty for the violation of emergency-management violations would be considered a third-degree misdemeanor.

Jennifer Readler, Dublin's attorney, said violations would be subject to up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail, but Dublin police officers would issue warnings for first violations in an ongoing effort to educate residents.

However, “persistent violations” could result in citations, she said.

“Our primary goal is to encourage and educate the public on the importance of wearing a face covering to protect themselves and others,” Readler said. “The public must take responsibility in preventing the community spread of COVID-19. Wearing a face covering supports our local business community, keeps our economy open and may save lives.”

The executive order said everyone in Dublin must wear a face covering inside businesses and on adjacent parking lots and sidewalks.

Anyone in a city park or other outdoor public space must wear a mask if unable to maintain 6 feet of distance with others, according to the release.

In addition, people watching sports events in city parks and on school property must wear masks, according to the release.

The release also outlined exceptions.

For example, masks are not required for those who can’t wear them because of a medical condition, a mental-health condition or a developmental disability, according to the release. Those who can’t remove masks without assistance and those who shouldn’t wear masks under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance are also exempt.

People “engaging in strenuous exercise” or sports are exempt, as are those in private offices.

People eating or drinking at restaurants or bars also are exempt, though those not seated at their tables must wear masks.

Finally, those receiving dental work or medical procedures or facial treatments or shaves are exempt, as are those whose “sincere religious belief prevents them from wearing a face covering,” according to the release.

The order will remain in effect until the end of the city’s state of emergency or until otherwise modified by an executive order, according to the city.

In addition, Gov. Mike DeWine on July 7 announced a mandate that will go into effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, and will apply to all counties that are designated as Level 3. The list currently includes Franklin County.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah