With Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine putting a statewide mask order in place this week, Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) released a statement Friday concerning the mandate.
FCPH Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon said that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, FCPH has been working closely with local businesses and event planners to ensure the safety of the community, and “we are very fortunate in Fayette County to have support and compliance from our local businesses.”
The statement reads:
“With the statewide mask order now in place, we will continue to conduct our complaint response process as we have since this began. We will enforce the statewide mask order for businesses and social public events. When we receive a complaint, we will contact the business that is in violation to discuss the complaint, review the order and provide guidance, and offer assistance where needed. If multiple complaints are received for the same location, we will do a compliance check visit.
“In the event that blatant non-compliance is found, and there is failure to remedy the situation after several attempts, we may be forced to issue fines. FCPH is provided this authority under ORC 3701.56, stating that health departments can enforce any order the Ohio Department of Health adopts. The program can be implemented under ORC 3701.352 which states, ‘A violation of R.C. 3701.352 is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, which can include a fine of not more than $750 or not more than 90 days in jail or both.’
“We value the good working relationships that we have developed with our local businesses and event organizers and we will continue to provide assistance as we all navigate this situation. Our goal is to educate so that enforcement does not become necessary.
“The community can help by remembering that business owners, employees, and event staff are doing what is required of them. We understand that there are strong feelings around this issue, but please continue to support businesses and events and please be kind.”
Cannon added that FCPH does not have the resources to enforce this order on individuals.
“Please do not call Fayette County Public Health, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office or the Washington Court House Police Department, to report an individual mask violation,” she said.
There are exemptions to the mask order, which can be found here, in the order: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/publicorders/Directors-Order-Facial-Coverings-throughout-State-Ohio.pdf
“We strongly encourage the use of masks in situations that are outlined by the order, and as always, please continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and stay home when you are sick,” said Cannon.