An ordinance that would repeal the Orange’s requirement for face masks in certain areas of the village’s community park was introduced to the village council June 9 during a council meeting.

The ordinance would repeal the requirement that certain persons who enter and utilize certain village park facilities, like the playground, wear a face covering. The original ordinance, which council declared as a community emergency, was passed last December, requiring people to wear face coverings in specified areas of the village park.

Council president Brandon Duber opposed the repeal of the ordinance, making a motion to suspend the rules and hoped to defeat the proposed legislation, but not enough votes were gathered. The ordinance will remain on first reading, and be considered at the council’s next meeting July 7.

Duber told the Cleveland Jewish News June 11 he opposes the repeal of the mask requirements at the park’s playground because the children who play there aren’t eligible to be vaccinated yet, and many of them are too young to mask. Ohioans ages 12 and older can get vaccinated.

“The primary playground players are not able to be vaccinated, and are more of the main carriers of COVID-19,” he said. “And you also have more parents than I would like to say who are not getting vaccinated. So, you have irresponsible, unvaccinated parents who could be giving COVID-19, even asymptomatically, to their kids who are then wiping their noses and playing with stuff on the playground where kids can’t social distance.”

For example, Duber said his daughter is both too young to wear a mask and too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. He said the repeal of this ordinance effectively eliminates the possibility that he and parents like him can take their kids to the playground.

“I just think it’s irresponsible,” said Duber, who attends Park Synagogue in Pepper Pike and Cleveland Heights. “We’ve been wearing masks for how long now, and is it the end of the world to wear a mask for a little bit longer? No. Be an adult, be a good person and just wear a mask at the playground. Children don’t have the option to choose whether or not they can get vaccinated.”

Adding that he doesn’t understand why city legislators would rush to repeal the ordinance, Duber said he intends on doing “whatever he can” to make sure the ordinance stays in place.

“Look, it’s great that stuff is opening up again,” he said. “People can live a little more, and you don’t have to wear a mask while doing a whole bunch of stuff in Orange. But, when you’re at a playground where kids aren’t able to be vaccinated, we’re putting them in danger for no reason.”

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