City urges public use of masks

By Jennifer Woods -

Wednesday’s Washington Court House City Council meeting was held at 9 a.m. instead of the typical 7:30 p.m. with all seven council members and City Manager Joe Denen donning masks, as Denen urged the public to continue wearing masks when out in public, especially in crowded locations such as the grocery store.

Masks were also addressed during closing comments.

“(Council members Dale Lynch and Jim Blair) said there are a lot of people not masking up, and I know they’re a nuisance, but I wish everybody will,” said council chairperson Jim Chrisman.

Council meetings are being held in the council chambers, but are being streamed live on YouTube due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Denen’s speech to council, he said, “I’d like to thank numerous businesses and folks in the community that have been incredibly supportive of the police department and our department in this situation. That is deeply appreciated. The local economy has got a number of businesses in town that are actively seeking employees.”

Some of the businesses he listed included Sugar Creek, Walmart and Kroger.

“Thankfully, you do have a lot of folks out there that are hiring, and you do have a worrying number of unemployment claims, but that is something that, in this situation, is almost unavoidable,” said Denen. “So for those folks that are out there, that are hurt, that are worrying about their future, you know you need to look around. There are some opportunities out there — see if that fits for your needs.”

Another topic brought up during the meeting was small businesses.

“You got a lot of folks that, thankfully we are very blessed, have been doing very well. We have a lot of smaller businesses reaching out to folks by the internet and Facebook. They are still around and that is something that is very encouraging,” said Denen.

During closing comments, council member Kendra Redd-Hernandez said, “I’m really impressed with everybody, once again, just stepping up and supporting each other. There’s so many people that have contacted me and asked how they support the small businesses downtown. It says a lot about our community and reiterates why I’m here.”

“I think the social distancing efforts and the efforts of everyone in town have been really impressive,” said council member Caleb Johnson during his closing comments.

“I would just like all of you, and your families, to stay safe and be in good health,” said council member Steve Schiltz. “I hope we all get through this thing fine. It seems like we’re doing good so we want to continue doing that.”

Those present at the meeting have continued to be only the necessary personnel and they were sitting approximately six, or more, feet apart to follow social distancing practices.

Also during the meeting, one piece of legislation, a resolution, was placed on second reading and then adopted.

The first time a resolution is seen and approved by council it is placed on a first reading and the second time on a second reading. Adoption of resolutions can occur once they have been placed on the second reading.

The adopted resolution authorizes Denen to continue with a cooperative agreement held with the director of transportation of the state for the Temple Street bridge project.

Washington Court House City Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. They are located in the second floor council chambers of the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main Street. Meetings will be streamed live on the YouTube channel “City of Washington Court House, Ohio” at

Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-463-1225 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.

By Jennifer Woods