face covering

Face covering orders potentially impact rural Ohio

In early July, a public health order was put into effect mandating face coverings in public in all Ohio counties that have reached the designation of Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency or a Purple Alert Level 4 Public Health Emergency.

As of the date of this story, 19 counties in Ohio are currently at Red Alert Level 3: Allen, Athens, Butler, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Fairfield, Hamilton, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Montgomery, Pickaway, Richland, Scioto, Summit, Union and Wood.

“In addition to social distancing and reducing unnecessary interactions with others, we know that wearing a mask helps protect others in the community. It has been, and remains, a very strong recommendation that I urge all Ohioans to continue doing even if you are not in a red-alert county,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “In red alert and purple alert counties, however, we must do more to help protect citizens because the risk of spread is increasing even more.”

Under the Ohio Dept. of Health interim director’s order, all individuals in the Red Alert Level 3 or higher counties shall wear facial coverings at all times when:

    • In any indoor location that is not a residence
    • Outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household; or 
    • Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service, or a ride sharing vehicle. This does not apply to private or rental vehicles where members of a family are sharing a vehicle. This does not apply to vehicles engaged in direct travel through a county that does not stop in that county.

“Many of the counties included in this order are in rural areas of Ohio, so they do have the potential to impact many of our members,” said Jack Irvin, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of state and national policy. “Major cities and several suburban cities have enacted their own face covering mandates or have mandates under consideration that may supersede orders from the state. Because of this, it is important to continually monitor the updated requirements locally.”

The Ohio Department of Health will update the county rankings every Thursday.  Any county that increases to Red Alert Level 3 will automatically be included in the face covering mandate in the order. Likewise, any county that decreases from Red Alert Level 3 to Orange Alert Level 2 will automatically be dropped from the face covering mandate.