Mayor Frank G. Jackson signed an order July 3 requiring the use of face masks throughout the city of Cleveland.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said he will bring legislation before Cuyahoga County Council next week mandating the use of masks in the county’s public spaces.

“The spike in coronavirus cases across the city of Cleveland warrants the mandated use of masks,” Jackson said in a news release. “If Clevelanders do not heed these critical warnings and prevention efforts, the effects will be disastrous to the economy and, most importantly, to individuals and families. No one is immune to this virus.”

On July 2, the updated Ohio Public Advisory Health System indicated Cuyahoga County has a Level 3 Public Emergency, or red, citing “very high exposure and spread.” Cuyahoga County meets four of the five criteria for the Level 4 designation, including: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, high proportion of sustained increase in emergency room visits and sustained increase in outpatient visits.

“Cuyahoga County has been hit hard in recent weeks by an increase in COVID cases, as demonstrated in the Ohio Public Advisory Health System’s designation of a level 3 public emergency in our community,” Budish said in the release. “I am introducing this legislation to help protect all residents, especially our most vulnerable. Wearing a mask is a small sacrifice we can make to save lives and significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Cuyahoga County.”

Earlier this week, the city of Cleveland reported record-high numbers of coronavirus cases. Eighty-four cases were reported on July 2 and 75 cases on June 28. The largest number of cases over the past seven days have been among people between the ages of 20 to 29.

The city of Cleveland’s order states the following effective immediately:

• Mandatory masks for all individuals out in public or in public spaces, including businesses, restaurants etc.

• Maximum capacity at any bar, restaurant, entertainment venue cannot exceed 50% of allowable capacity and must comply with social distancing standards.

• Any establishment that upon two incidents of violating maximum capacity order will be ordered to shut down.

• Mass gathering orders are still in effect. If incidents of more than 10 persons are gathered not wearing masks, enforcement actions will be taken.

• If an establishment has an employee or a patron, who has tested positive for COVID-19, then the establishment must be sanitized to the standards of the Cleveland Health Department, failure to demonstrate such sanitization will result in the facility being shut down.

• People should not gather during the holiday, except within the social distancing and mass gathering mandates, and shall wear masks and wash their hands often.

In addition, the following guidelines will be introduced via legislation submitted to Cleveland City Council:

Social Venues (such as restaurants, bars and clubs):

• Employees failing to wear masks will be issued a $50 citation for failing to wear a mask

• Patrons failing to wear masks will be issued a $25 citation for failing to wear a mask

• Venues failing to facilitate social distancing will be fined $3,000 for first instance and $5,000 for each subsequent violation

• Businesses failing to follow occupancy limitations will be fined $3,000 for first instance and $5,000 for each subsequent violation

• Mass gatherings (residential mass gatherings): Residents or owners be issued a $150 citation for first incident and $300 for each subsequent incident

• Ride sharing: Treat masks like seat belts and issue a citation with a $50 sanction for each person not wearing a mask in the automobile

The primary city of Cleveland agencies that will be tasked with enforcing these new rules will be the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cleveland Department of Public Health. The city of Cleveland strongly urges that residents do not gather for events, especially on the Fourth of July, according to the release.

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